In November 2015, Leonardo Vega was diagnosed with liver and lung cancer.
After multiple unsuccessful rounds of chemotherapy, he left the hospital and returned to his New Jersey home to spend his remaining days receiving hospice care while surrounded by his family. His eldest daughter, Eva Vega-Olds, decided to use the StoryCorps app to capture some of her father’s memories and preserve the sound of his voice.
During their time together, Leonardo was bedridden and hooked up to an oxygen tank. Finding the strength to answer questions was difficult, so Eva also took the opportunity to tell her father how much he has meant to her.
This recording turned out to be the last conversation they ever had together. Leonardo died days later on January 29, 2016, at the age of 73. Soon after, Eva came to StoryCorps to remember a hardworking man with a great sense of humor who loved his family.
Originally aired March 25, 2016, on NPR’s Morning Edition.