CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - People across the city are mourning the loss of a beloved downtown Charleston hot-dog vendor Gary Alameda, who passed away Wednesday morning.
There was an outpour of condolences and posts about Alameda on social media as people were learning of his passing.
"Everybody loved him," his sister Beryl Alameda said. "He was a friendly, fun, giving person."
"His death was unexpected," said Alameda. She said her brother worked last night at his hot dog cart and was driving toward home with a friend on I-26 when his chest started hurting.
"He didn't even get to put his car in park," she said. "His friend had to do it for him."
His sister said he was able to get out of his car, but then started convulsing and went unconscious. Police arrived and took him to a medical center for treatment.
Alameda was pronounced dead at 5:36 a.m. Wednesday. He was 43 years old.
His sister told us he moved to Charleston from Queens, New York in February of 1994. He decided to get a hot dog cart in 2001, after she decided to discontinue her own.
The hot dog stand was on Ann Street, near Club Pantheon and the Music Farm.
His customers included students, party goers, police officers and even cab drivers. Alameda said a cab driver even visited her brother at the hospital.
"He loved his two daughters, his son, and his two nieces," she said. Alameda is survived by his son Khalil, 17, and his daughters Kanasia, 13, and Khamiiah, who is turning 9 on Sunday, and his nieces 11-year-old Jelaine and 4-year-old Ayana.
His mother Wilhelmina and brother Carlos are also mourning his loss.
"Can't believe it... you will be missed," said one poster on Facebook.
"Charleston won't be the same, but your spirit lives on," said another.