By Michelle Graff
Julio Ramirez, center, in a picture taken from the GoFundMe page created in his memory. The longtime M.K. Diamonds employee died earlier this month from an undiagnosed illness believed to be COVID-19. He was 43 years old.
Los Angeles—Julio Ramirez, a husband and father of two and a beloved member of the M.K. Diamonds family, died in his sleep March 16 following an undiagnosed illness with symptoms similar to the coronavirus.

He was 43.

Ramirez worked for Los-Angeles based jewelry manufacturer and its bridal brand, Natalie K, as a senior account executive. He was at the company for nearly 16 years.

According to a GoFundMe page started by M.K. Diamonds employees to support Ramirez’s family, their longtime employee fell ill after returning from a business trip to Indiana on Sunday, March 8.

The GoFundMe page details the grim odyssey of Ramirez’s illness, laying out how he was initially diagnosed with and treated for the flu but wound up in urgent care by the following Friday because his condition was worsening.

This time, a doctor diagnosed him with pneumonia via telephone. He was sent for a chest x-ray and told to call his doctor in a week. Neither the doctor nor anyone at urgent care took Ramirez’s vitals or “addressed the fact that he was having difficulty breathing,” the GoFundMe page states.

He died three days later.

KCAL9, the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles, reported that the Los Angeles County coroner’s office is not doing an autopsy because the health system that treated Ramirez, Kaiser Permanente, gave his cause of death as pneumonia.

His wife, Julie Murillo, is paying for an independent autopsy to find out if her late husband had COVID-19, the news station reported.

Tributes to Ramirez from members of the jewelry industry were all over social media; the Atlanta Jewelry Show said in a post on its Facebook page that he was known as the mayor of the show because he always greeted people as they entered.

“He will be missed by many. Prayers to his beautiful wife and sons, family, the MK family and his friends,” the post states.

Ramirez is survived by his wife Julie and their two sons.

As of Friday morning, the GoFundMe page for Ramirez’s family topped $42,000, nearing its goal of $50,000. The site remains open for donations.


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