The world was shocked and saddened as details emerged of the mass shooting at a school in Uvalde,Texas on Tuesday, which killed 19 children and 2 teachers, and the story took yet another tragic turn when it was revealed that the husband of one of those deceased educators died of a heart attack just two days later, as the Washington Examiner reported.
News of the newly-bereaved spouse’s passing was announced by family member John Martinez, who wrote on Twitter, “EXTREMELY heartbreaking and come with deep sorrow to say that my Tia Irma’s husband Joe Garcia has passed away due to grief.”
Martinez added that he was “at a loss for words for how we are all feeling,” asked for prayers for his family, and posted a photo of his aunt and uncle, who were reportedly high school sweethearts married for 24 years.
Reports indicated that Mrs. Garcia, 46, was fatally shot while attempting to shield students in her fourth grade classroom from the assailant who launched a horrific attack on Robb Elementary School that now ranks as the third deadliest such incident in the country’s history, leaving behind her husband and four kids.
In a sad and now profoundly poignant video taken shortly before his death, Mr. Garcia, 50, was seen placing red roses at a memorial site for the victims of the shooting, setting them before a cross bearing his wife’s name, as the New York Post noted.
The events that transpired soon after were detailed by Martinez in an interview given to the Detroit Free Press in which he said, “What happened was my Uncle Joe went to go leave flowers for my Tia Irma, his wife, and whenever he got back, he sat down at the kitchen table with this entire family, and after three minutes, he just fell over.”
“They called the ambulance and I was told they couldn’t bring him back. They took him to Uvalde Memorial Hospital. I’m not sure if they confirmed his death at the house or the hospital,” Martinez said, adding that the episode has left the family feeling as though it has been “hit by another truck.”
Debra Austin, a cousin of Mrs. Garcia wrote on Thursday, “I truly believe Joe died of a broken heart and losing the love of his life of more than 25 years was too much to bear,” a possibility doctors suggest is an actual phenomenon that can occur when the human body is flooded with excess stress hormones, causing the heart muscle to weaken and the arteries to thin, as the Daily Mail noted.
As of Friday, more than $2 million had been raised in support of the Garcias’ four children, who range in age from 12 to 23, and while no amount of money can ever take the place of their parents’ love, hopefully the overwhelming outpouring of love and support will help ease their unfathomable burden in the difficult days, months, and years to come.