Remembering the lives lost to COVID-19: Retired SSgt. Robert Pedro Mendoza, 43, of Oceanside, Calif.

Retired Staff Sgt. Robert Pedro Mendoza, 43, of Oceanside, Calif., died on April 20, 2020, after becoming ill with COVID-19. He’s among the more than 550,000 Americans who have lost their lives to the disease since the first known fatality in early 2020.

His mother, Yolanda Mendoza, told Yahoo News that her son was a “loving person” who loved his family, his son and his country.

“He served in the United States Marine Corps for about 15 years. He loved being a Marine, and everything that it stood for.”

This is part of a Yahoo News series honoring some of the American lives lost to COVID-19. Their stories are told by family and friends, who were left to deal with their often sudden and painful deaths.