Paul Vasquez, the colourful character behind the viral “double rainbow” video, has died.
Vasquez, 57, died Saturday in the emergency unit at the John C. Fremont Hospital in Mariposa, California, a spokesperson for the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to Gizmodo. The spokesperson did not comment on Vasquez’s cause of death, however, Vasquez posted on Facebook late last week that he was being tested for covid-19. While he said in a May 5 post that he was “fairly certain” he did not have covid-19, an earlier May 3 post detailed a number of health issues he said he was experiencing, including shortness of breath and fever.
Vasquez was catapulted to viral fame in 2010 after uploading an absolutely captivating video of a double rainbow—which incidentally, was the least interesting part of the clip. It was Vasquez’s impassioned response to the phenomena and the repeated observation, sometimes through cries of utter astonishment, that the double rainbow extended “all the way” that made the video a memorable staple of the web’s oddball museum of viral fame.
“What does this mean?” Vasquez breathlessly exclaims in the video. “It’s so bright. Oh my god, it’s so bright and vivid.”
In the days since news of Vasquez’s death initially broke, his social media channels have been flooded with commenters paying their respects. Robert Borchard, described as a friend of Vasquez by the Modesto Bee, told the paper that regardless of “where I was or what I was doing, Paul was a bright spot, always enthusiastic about the world.”
Vasquez maintained the account Yosemitebear62 on YouTube, regularly uploading videos that documented his day-to-day life. Since Vasquez died Saturday, two additional clips have been uploaded to the channel, possibly having been scheduled in advance. YouTube did not immediately return repeated requests for comment regarding the channel.
In a Facebook post shared on his page prior to his death, Vasquez said that despite his health complications, he did not want “any advice, or sympathy.”
“Like I said I am never stepping into another ER or hospital again, that’s where people go to die, I don’t want to die in a hospital hearing beeps, alarms, getting poked and woken up, hell no!” he wrote. “Whatever happens I’m ready for it, I’m happy to experience it all, it might only be pollen and I’ll have more time in my apartment, if it’s the virus and it’s my time to recycle I look forward to coming back to a new body and starting over, whatever happens I’m enjoying the ride.”