Unvaccinated Chinese Best Friend Comic Christian Cabrera, 40, Dies of COVID

The popular internet comic Christian Cabrera, best known by his stage name Chinese Best Friend, has died from COVID-19 at the age of 40.

Before he passed away, father-of-one Cabrera, who was unvaccinated, expressed his "regret" at not getting his shots.

He contracted the virus shortly after Christmas, and was admitted to Sherman Oaks Hospital, Los Angeles, in January, when his condition deteriorated.

He was put on a ventilator when he lost the capacity to breathe on his own, and spent more than a week in the hospital's intensive care unit (ICU).

While he was in hospital he texted regularly with his close friend and associated act, Michael Blackson, who posted several updates about Cabrera online.

On Thursday, January 13, Blackson urged his Twitter followers to "go get vaccinated because it will help you stay alive if you catch" COVID-19.

"Been here almost a week in ICU now not breathing on my own with Covid Pneumonia infection on Both lungs!" Cabrera said on Friday, January 14, in a post on Instagram, where has more than 100,000 followers.

"This has to be the worst pain I ever had in my life! thanks for all the love and prayers everyone! i can hear all ya prayers on my sleep! thank you and hope to see ya all soon! and thank you @michaelblackson for ya prayers and from all ya wonderful amazing friends."

In a text sent to his brother, Jino Cabrera, on Thursday, January 20, he reportedly said: "I can't breathe again. I really regret not getting my vaccine, if I can do it all over again I would do it in a heartbeat to save my life. I'm fighting for my life here and I wish I have gotten vaccinated."

Cabrera passed away on Saturday, January 22.

His family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise awareness of the case, and to raise funds for Cabrera's three-year-old son, Noel.

The page pays tribute to a "funny, caring loving, smart, amazing human being," who "only wanted to bring laughter and joy to those around him."

No vaccine is 100 percent effective in preventing illness, but getting vaccinated against COVID-19 gives most people a high level of protection against the virus, reducing the risk of getting severely ill.

However, vaccine hesitancy has prevented a significant proportion of the population from getting protected against the virus.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Monday, January 24, 75.6 percent of people who are eligible for the vaccine in the U.S. have had at least one dose, with 63.4 percent fully vaccinated.

Some 53.2 percent of people who are eligible for a booster shot have received one.

There have been numerous cases of people expressing their regret at not getting vaccinated against COVID-19 when they've become seriously ill, but others remain in denial until the end.

According to a poll released in December, nearly half of unvaccinated adults in the U.S. said that nothing will convince them to get a shot.

Empty bed in a hospital ward
Christian Cabrera spent more than a week in intensive care, relying on a ventilator to breathe. Peter Horrox/iStock