BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A vigil was held Monday for a Bakersfield Police Department detective who passed away Sunday after apparently suffering from Valley Fever.
Dozens of people turned out to the event to show gratitude for Detective Kevin Hock. His colleagues saying he was a family man, and his job meant the world to him.
"He's just a can-do guy, he never complained. Came to work, protected all of us. Just a great guy. A wonderful guy," said Greg Jehle, who previously worked with Hock.
Jehle is an investigator with the Kern County District Attorney's Office, but before that he worked with Hock for years at BPD.
"He's worked a full career here. He was at the tail-end of his career when this happened and it's just a tragedy to lose a guy like him," Jehle said.
Family tells 23ABC that Hock was diagnosed with Valley Fever about three years ago. He beat it then. But about six months ago it came back.
"I saw him on Thursday. I think maybe he was like 185 pounds. I think he weighed 125 pounds. Just bones. I mean it's just sad," said Sharon Boen, Hock's aunt.
The 52-year-old leaves behind a wife and an adult son. He worked at BPD for 26 years.
"He went through every phase, he was a detective, he was a canine, police officer, I don't know what he was doing now but he had gone through the gambit of everything here, and I think he was ready to retire but, as I said he was a good servant to this community," Boen said.
After watching Hock's family deal with the severity of his illness, Boen wants the public to be more aware of how devastating Valley Fever can be.
"For 52 that's so awful to lose your life. To lose your family and everything at 52 years old. It just shouldn't be," she said.
This is the fourth consecutive year of valley fever cases on the rise in Kern County, according to the Kern County Department of Public Health. Hock's family says although he was sick with Valley Fever, there is no official cause of death yet.