MANILA — (UPDATED) Actress Aiko Melendez is mourning the death of her stepfather, Dan Castañeda, who passed away in the United States due to COVID-19 on Sunday.
“The passing of my dad has taught me so many things in life, and I know I will still learn more as days go by,” Melendez wrote on her personal Facebook page on Monday.
Melendez shared that Castaneda had come into contact with individuals, whom she said did not disclose their history of exposure to COVID-19.
“I’m feeling so much pain now because I know in my heart that if only the ‘so-called friends’ of Dad [were] just honest enough to tell him their condition, then our dad might have been alive till now. I have been praying. Lord knows how much I’m praying to forgive, and to not just point fingers,” she said.
“But if there’s something I know now — I prayed for this — I know there is a lesson that my Dad wants us to all learn from his story. He wants us all to take COVID-19 seriously. My Daddy Dan wants us to be extra careful with the people we mingle with. Kahit pa kaibigan mo ‘yan.”
Melendez did not include details of Castaneda’s exposure to the virus and the duration of his illness.
“My Dad was a selfless man. He is too good with everyone around him. I am a living testimony he treated me as his own flesh and blood,” she said.
Melendez, now 45, was only 6 years old when her mother, Elsie, married Castaneda. Her biological father, Jimi, had already been separated from Elsie when he passed away in 1997.
Referring to Castaneda, Melendez said, “More than half of my life he was the father I never had.”
Castaneda, whom she described as “the best lolo,” also had close relationships with Melendez’s children, the actress said.
Castaneda is survived by his wife and their other children.
“Thank You, Lord Jesus, for lending us our dad. We truly had a great time with him. I know it’s time for him to be with you para naman he will also experience one great love without limits with you Lord,” Melendez said.
Addressing those who are “fighting their chances to live” due to the pandemic, Melendez said, “We will be praying for all of you.”
“And sa mga wala pong COVID-19, please be mindful... We also have our own family to come home too. Being selfish might cost a life. Be responsible.”