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‘Never seen such a peaceful death’

Man never smoked, died of lung cancer

Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 12:16 p.m. CDT
Luis "Gordo" Serrano, shown here with his sister, Veronica Serrano, 33, died March 13, a week after being diagnosed with lung cancer. The nonsmoking father of four was 35. His family plans a benefit May 19 to help pay for his funeral, and support his children.

STERLING – In December, Luis “Gordo” Serrano started suffering cold-like symptoms. A few weeks later, he ended up in the hospital, where a doctor diagnosed him with pneumonia.

The 35-year-old was released, but his health continued to worsen.

In late February, he went to Rockford Memorial Hospital. On March 6, a biopsy showed that Luis had lung cancer. He was given 2 weeks to live.

A week later, on March 13, Luis decided against staying on life support. He died that day.

“He died so peacefully,” said his mother, Grace Rodriguez, a nurse. “I have never seen such a peaceful death. He was ready to go with God.”

The diagnosis of lung cancer surprised the family. Luis did not smoke or drink. And he never lived with a smoker, his family said.

Sunday, the family will have a benefit at the Latin American Social Club to help with funeral expenses. Any extra money will go into an account for Luis’ children.

Luis, who had a developmental disability, lived with his mother. He was the father of 4- and 5-year-old girls and 6- and 10-year-old boys.

“He was a good cook and cooked for me all the time,” said Grace, 51. “He cleaned and kept things in order. He enjoyed being a homemaker and took good care of kids.”

He was known for wearing jerseys for his favorite teams – the Cubs, the White Sox, the Bulls, the Bears.

“I had to have the sports channel just for him,” Grace said.

Luis also loved music, particularly Mexican. His favorite band was Los Temerarios, whose music his family played during the funeral.

Luis earned the nickname Gordo at birth, when he weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces, heavy for a baby.

“He was a big boy and stayed big,” Grace said.

His sister, Veronica Serrano, 33, said her brother was quiet.

“He was a good baby sitter,” she said. “He was a big brother to my kids.”

To help

A benefit for the family of Luis "Gordo" Serrano, from noon to 9 p.m. Sunday at the Latin American Social Club, 2708 W. Lincolnway, in Sterling, will feature music by DJ Big Boi, Sonido Nomada and Sabor Latino.

Serrano died in March of lung cancer. Proceeds will help pay funeral expenses. Any extra money will go into an account for his children. A memorial account also has been set up in his name at Cornerstone Credit Union.

Anyone interested in donating or volunteering can call 815-441-0081.

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