After spending 31 years in a coma, a car crash victim in Italy has succumbed to his death.
On March 19, 1988, then 22-year-old Ignazio “Cito” Okamoto suffered a brain hemorrhage following a car collision on a Verona motorway. His friend was killed in the crash but two survived the incident, MailOnline reports.
Okamoto stayed in a clinic for two years before his parents decided to take him home, where they cared for him daily to try to nurse him back to health. Last Friday, at age 54, Okamoto died after suffering a cardiac arrest, according to Corriere.
“For 31 years we lived cut off from the world,” Okamoto’s mother Marina was quoted as saying. “The doctors had told us that he wouldn’t wake up but we cared for him every day, hoping that maybe…”
Hector, Okamoto’s 77-year-old Mexican Japanese father expressed how different his life is now that his son has passed away.
“Now life has changed. I woke up this morning at 5 a.m. and I didn’t know what to do,” he shared. “I went to the garden to water the flowers. The last few nights I slept in Ignazio’s room, even though he is gone, to be near him.”
Hector Okamoto narrated that when he visited Mexico for a week, he later found his son looking “very white, almost green” upon his return.
“I am convinced that he thought he had been abandoned,” he said.
According to him, the family had developed a daily routine throughout his son’s coma over the years. In 1990, he left his job to look after his son while his wife Marina continued working to support the family.
“Sometimes he had a tear but I don’t know if he was conscious. I said to him: ‘’Ignazio, come on do not cry, you must be brave’,” he added.
Asked if euthanasia had ever become an option for them, the mourning father replied, “This idea never touched me… Everyone has the right to decide how he wants.”