California viral video sensation dies

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MARIPOSA – Paul L. Vasquez, the beefy mountain man whose stunned reaction to seeing a double rainbow propelled him to internet stardom and turned him into a popular hero, died in central California . He was 57 years old.

Vasquez, who called himself Yosemitebear on social media, died Saturday morning in a hospital emergency room, the Mariposa County Coroner’s office told Modesto Bee.

The cause of death has not been released. Vasquez had recently posted on his Facebook page that he had been tested for COVID-19 but had learned of another unspecified disease.

In January 2010, Vasquez posted to YouTube a video taken from his mountainside home of a set of rainbows overlooking the Yosemite Valley. He notes in the legend that the camera was unable to capture the intensity and brightness of the rainbows.

But that’s not what led to 46 million views of the video. It was Vasquez’s reaction.

During the 3-minute video, he repeatedly said “whoa,” laughed and even sobbed, marveling at the sight of the rainbows.

“It’s a double rainbow across the sky!” He apologized.

He then meditated, “What does all this mean? “

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