WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Joe Garcia, the husband of late Robb Elementary school teacher Irma Garcia, has passed away after a medical emergency.
- His nephew said he had a heart attack at home, but many of his relatives believe he died from a broken heart.
- Irma Garcia was killed on Tuesday while protecting her students from the teenage gunman.
Irma Garcia, a fourth-grade teacher at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, was one of the faculty members killed in Tuesday’s deadly shooting. Now, her family believes that the tragic news also led to her husband’s passing just days later on Thursday morning.
Joe Garcia, Irma Garcia’s husband and high school sweetheart, reportedly suffered a heart attack at home, according to one of his nephews.
His nephew, John Martinez, said that his 50-year-old uncle had just arrived home from leaving flowers at his wife’s memorial when he “pretty much just fell over.”
Irma Garcia’s cousin, Debra Austin, wrote, “I truly believe Joe died of a broken heart. Losing the love of his life of more than 25 years was too much to bear.”
Martinez also tweeted that his uncle had “passed away due to grief.” He wrote, “I truly am at a loss for words for how we are all feeling. … God have mercy on us, this isn’t easy.”
According to the American Heart Association, a person can die from grief after experiencing an emotionally stressful event, such as a death of a loved one, that causes a surge of stress hormones. This is also known as broken heart syndrome.
The stress-induced cardiomyopathy is often misdiagnosed as a heart attack because of its similar symptoms. Both show a dramatic change in rhythm, but broken heart syndrome is not caused by blocked arteries.
According to Martinez, the couple are survived by four children, ages 23, 19, 15, and 13. “No child should have to go through this,” he tweeted. “My heart breaks for them.”
A fourth-grade boy who survived the shooting told media outlets that their teachers, Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles, stood in front of the students to help save them from the gunman.
Martinez called her aunt a hero who “sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her classroom.”
One of Garcia’s nephews treasured the Garcia couple for making anyone “feel loved no matter what” and having “the purest hearts ever.”
Source: CBS News