After losing five loved ones to COVID-19, Edgar Ramírez begs people to get vaccinated

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A man wearing a dark suit and looking down
Actor Edgar Ramírez at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival in Canada. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

This past weekend, Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramírez lost his aunt and uncle to COVID-19 in less than 24 hours.

"We had not yet collected my aunt's ashes when we were due to incinerate my uncle's body," the "Jungle Cruise" actor shared Wednesday on social media.

"Then on Monday," he continued, "still unable to process the shock and horror from the weekend, we woke up to the news that my Aunt Nidia's brother in law, Rafael, a dear friend, had also died after months battling with COVID complications."

All three of them passed away a month after the death of Ramírez's grandmother and four months after the death of his "Venezuelan agent and dear friend Laureano."

"None of them had been vaccinated," the actor wrote. "None of them had access to a vaccine in Venezuela."

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After conveying his immense loss and grief in heartbreaking detail, the Emmy-nominated performer begged his followers "to please read this post carefully," as it was "the most painful and the most intimate thing I have had to publish in my life."

He also released a translated version for his Spanish-speaking audience.

"It's been weeks and weeks of my family being played, tortured and jerked around by this cruel, treacherous and violent disease which mercilessly ended up killing them all," he wrote in a lengthy, emotional statement.

"I can't stand this void in my chest, this metallic taste in my mouth, this crippling headache that doesn't seem to soothe. These waves of hopelessness that I refuse to let take root in my soul."

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Last week, Ramírez conducted a public interview with infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci in an effort to spread awareness about the public health crisis and urge Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

At the time he was "hoping for a miracle to save" his aunt's life, and his uncle was "barely stable" after a month in the hospital.

Now, after losing them both, the "American Crime Story" alum reiterated his plea as the highly contagious Delta variant of the novel coronavirus continues to ravage the unvaccinated and cripple hospitals across the United States and abroad.

"It breaks my heart that so many people in this country are willing to snub the very vaccine my family would have taken in an instant," he wrote.

"Don't do it for yourself. Do it to protect those who are vulnerable. ... To get a vaccine is an act of compassion."

On Instagram, several of Ramírez's co-stars and Hollywood peers — including Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Chastain, Juan Pablo Raba, Erika De La Vega and Cody Fern — offered their support and condolences.

"My heart can't ... take any more pain," Ramírez wrote. "I am sad, I am frustrated, I am devastated."

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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