9 People Died of A Broken Heart

9 People Who Died Of A Broken Heart

1. Matthew Badger, who lost three daughters to 2011 Christmas Day fire in Connecticut, dies at 51

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Matthew Badger maintained that his life ended on Christmas Day 2011 when his three young daughters died in a Connecticut fire.

The 51-year-old Badger survived with a broken heart for another five years before dying Thursday, from what his family said was natural causes.

“His death was sudden and peaceful,” said his ex-wife Madonna Badger in a Facebook post. “He is with his children and his parents and his brother, Mark. . . . He was a wonderful man with a generous heart.”

Badger’s death was announced by the Lily Sarah Grace Fund — the foundation launched by the distraught father to honor his three lost girls. Lily, 9, and twins Grace and Sarah, 7, died in the raging blaze that also killed their maternal grandparents.

“While our hearts are broken, we are honored and committed to carrying on Matthew’s legacy,” the statement continued.

The group was started to honor the three sisters by boosting arts programs at needy public elementary schools. Badger said in a 2012 interview that the loss of the three girls left him devastated.

“I don’t think the loss is ever going away,” Badger told People magazine. “It ended my life.”

Badger’s ex-wife and her boyfriend Michael Borcina were the lone survivors of the inferno at the $1.7 million Victorian mansion in a tony section of Stamford, Conn.

Matthew Badger later collected a $5 million settlement from Borcina, who started the lethal blaze by leaving a hot bag of fireplace ashes inside a trash bin at the home.

2. Teen and father killed hours apart in separate car crashes 'as suicidal dad drives wrong way up the highway upon learning of his 16-year-old's death'

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A man, whose teenage son was tragically killed in a car crash, died after crashing his own car after driving the wrong-way on the same highway hours later.

Heartbroken father Sunil Sambhi's death on Thursday is being treated as 'suicide' by the California Highway Patrol.

The 48-year-old Alpine man's son Dev, 16, and wife Natalia, 55, were involved in a single-car crash on Interstate 8 at 7am which killed Dev and injured Natalia.

Mrs Sambhi was driving a black Toyota Tacoma pickup that witnesses said may have blown a tyre before it veered off the freeway and overturned, throwing Dev from the vehicle.

Highway Patrol Officer Brian Pennings told The San Diego Union-Tribune that the preliminary investigation indicates the teen was not wearing a seat belt.

Tributes have been pouring for the young student who friends say was 'always happy' and a 'great friend'.
Just hours after Dev's death, motorists began making 911 calls to report that a motorist in a Toyota Scion was driving erratically on eastbound Interstate 8, within miles of the scene of the accident which killed Dev, Mr Pennings told CBS News

The reckless driver, later identified as Mr Sambhi, began driving on the wrong side of the interstate in the Alpine area.

The driver of a Mercury Grand Marquis saw the wrong-way vehicle appear in front of him and swerved to the right to try to avoid a collision.

The reckless driver, later identified as Mr Sambhi, began driving on the wrong side of the interstate in the Alpine area.

The driver of a Mercury Grand Marquis saw the wrong-way vehicle appear in front of him and swerved to the right to try to avoid a collision.

At that point, according to witnesses, the driver of the Scion steered back into the path of the oncoming car, apparently with the intent of causing a collision, Mr Pennings added.

The resulting head-on crash left Mr Sambhi gravely injured. He was airlifted to a hospital, where he later died. The 44-year-old driver of the Mercury and his 19-year-old passenger were hospitalised with moderate injuries.

Shortly before the crash that killed the distraught father, San Diego police issued a 'be-on-the-lookout' alert for him and his car, after receiving a 911 call, according to reports.

The caller said Mr Sambhi was 'extremely upset' and blaming his wife for their son’s death.

The community in Alpine has been left shocked by the double tragedy. In a tribute, the Alpine Community Network, said: 'All of Alpine has heavy hearts tonight - what a horrible tragedy for this family. God Bless your family.'

Katy Andersen, principal of Joan MacQueen Middle School in Alpine, where Dev attended, said the school and the entire Alpine Union School District was saddened by the tragedy.

She said Dev was a quiet and well-liked student. A Facebook tribute page to the youngster has over 600 members.

3. Doug Flutie's parents die within an hour of each other

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Doug Flutie's father and mother died Wednesday morning less than an hour apart from each other, the former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback wrote on Facebook.

Richard "Dick" Flutie died of a heart attack while in the hospital. Shortly after, Joan Flutie died following a heart attack. The two had been married for 56 years.

"They say you can die of a broken heart and I believe it," Flutie wrote on Facebook.

"I would like to honor my parents for all that they did throughout my and my brothers’ and sister’s lives. My parents were always there for their children, from the days my Dad coached us as kids and my Mom would work the concession stands, through to this morning. The most important part of their 56 years of marriage was providing opportunities to their children. They were incredible parents and Grandparents and my family and I will miss them both."

Flutie rose to fame during his collegiate career at Boston College, and later went on to play in the NFL, Canadian Football League and United States Football League. He now serves as a broadcaster for Notre Dame football games on NBC and was scheduled to appear on Saturday's broadcast for the Fighting Irish's game against Boston College.

4. Todd Fisher: Debbie Reynolds Didn’t ‘Die of a Broken Heart’

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In his first TV interview since their deaths, Todd Fisher opened up about his mother, Debbie Reynolds, and sister Carrie Fisher on ABC's 20/20, which aired on Friday, December 30.

As previously reported, Reynolds died at age 84 on Wednesday, December 28, one day after her daughter Carrie's death.

"From the family's perspective, this is Debbie's destiny. She didn't want to leave Carrie and did not want her to be alone,” Todd, 58, told ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas. “She didn't die of a broken heart. She just left to be with Carrie.… Carrie was a force of nature in her own right, you know. It took another force of nature to bridle and work with that and she was great with her."

"It wasn't that she was sitting around inconsolable — not at all,” Todd explained. “She simply said that she didn't get to see Carrie come back from London. She expressed how much she loved my sister. She then said she really wanted to be with Carrie. In those precise words, and within 15 minutes from that conversation, she faded out. Within 30 minutes, she technically was gone."

“She just effectively went to sleep and didn't wake up. She closed her eyes, peacefully, like you're going to sleep, and she literally went to sleep and left,” he continued. “My mother, if anybody, had somehow a way to do that, and I watched it happen in front of my face. I was on her bed with her, and I watched her leave and go to Carrie."

Todd said that he and Carrie’s daughter, Scream Queens actress Billie Lourd, are “brokenhearted,” but happy that the two have now reunited. “It's horrible. It's beautiful. It's magical they're together," he told Vargas. "It's beyond words. It's beyond understanding."

Reynolds and Carrie will have a joint funeral and will both be laid to rest at Forest Lawn–Hollywood Hills. Todd and Lourd, 24, chose the specific cemetery after a hummingbird appeared nearby.

"My mother loves hummingbirds, and had hummingbirds in her yard,” Todd said on Friday. "We were going all over the place, and we got to this one place to look at this one thing, these hummingbirds came, and it was just like 'fait accompli,' as my mother would say."

5. Pennsylvania father, son die of heart attacks a little more than one hour apart

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IRWIN, Pa. - A western Pennsylvania family is mourning the deaths of a father and son who each died of heart attacks a little more than an hour apart.

Charles McCauley Jr. was rushing to his father's home Saturday after learning of the older man's death when the younger McCauley began suffering from chest pains. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports father and son died 1 hour and 7 minutes apart.

Eighty-three-year-old Charles McCauley Sr. had been watching the Pittsburgh Steelers preseason game on television at his Irwin home when he suffered a heart attack.

His 54-year-old son was at the game and was stricken after being called by paramedics and walking out of the game to his car.

Family friends called the double tragedy difficult to grasp.

6. Husband who died of a broken heart: He fell victim to sudden death syndrome hours after giving eulogy at funeral of Doctor Who actress wife

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First his beloved wife of 34 years, the Doctor Who actress Mary Tamm, lost her long battle with cancer.

Two weeks later, a grieving Marcus Ringrose managed to give a ‘stunning’ 20-minute eulogy at her funeral that left those watching in awe.

By the next morning, he was dead – of a broken heart.

An inquest yesterday heard that Mr Ringrose, 59, died of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, a cardiac condition which can be triggered by emotional stress.

It claims around 500 victims in Britain each year and can strike at any age. It  is caused by a massive disturbance in the heart’s rhythm.

The inquest heard that Mr Ringrose was otherwise fit and well. He had cared for Miss Tamm, who was best known for playing The Doctor’s companion, Romana, in the 1978 series of Doctor Who alongside Tom Baker, throughout her 18-month battle with cancer.

She underwent chemotherapy but died, aged 62, on July 26 this year.

At 7.10am on August 8, the day after Miss Tamm’s funeral, relatives who were staying with Mr Ringrose found him dead on the living room floor of the couple’s home in Battersea, South West London, Westminster Coroner’s Court heard.

He was last seen alive at 11.30pm the previous day, sitting at his computer and wishing his guests goodnight.
Deputy Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said the computer screen showed he had been writing a ‘positive email to a friend about how he was going to move forward following the tragic death of his wife’.
Last night his brother, 62-year-old Rodney Ringrose, told the Mail that Marcus had talked of going travelling as he coped with his grief – and how his ‘passionate’ love for Miss Tamm  was laid bare in his eulogy at her funeral at St Mary’s Church, Battersea.

He said: ‘It was almost like Romeo and Juliet or Antony and Cleopatra, it was a speech which told how amazingly, passionately in love they were.

‘He was devastated by losing her and also had a few questions about life and death to ask the canon conducting the funeral – why we are put through this turmoil before we die. It was all so moving and had everyone enthralled.’

He added: ‘I was in awe at it, it was stunning. My last words to Marcus, on the steps of the church, were how proud I was of him and how proud our father and grandfather would have been of him.’

The couple met when Mr Ringrose, a chief loss adjuster in the City, visited the BBC. He saw Miss Tamm and told a friend: ‘I’m going to marry that girl.’

He engineered a meeting by taking a hairbrush from her handbag and then, having obtained her number, rang her to say he had the brush. Miss Tamm called him a ‘cheeky bugger’ but agreed to meet him.

They leave behind their horse trainer daughter, 32-year-old Lauren Burlingham, and seven-year-old grandson, Max.
Mr Ringrose is also survived by his mother, Nancy Yvonne Churchill-Davidson, 86, who remarried after his father, Wing Commander Walter Richard Ringrose, died of a suspected heart attack at 53.

Marcus had suffered palpitations in a one-off incident a few years ago, and experts told the inquest this history meant his death could potentially have a genetic cause, and advised other family members to seek medical advice.
Pathologist Dr John du Parcq said no drugs or alcohol were found in Mr Ringrose’s body, there   were no signs of injury and  he had not suffered a heart attack.

Dr Mary Sheppard, a world renowned expert on sudden cardiac death, carried out further tests and concluded he had suffered Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.

Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, Dr Radcliffe said the condition can be triggered by stressful and emotional events ‘which undoubtedly Mr Ringrose had been going through’.

7. Mother died 'of a broken heart' just hours after her daughter was stillborn

A mother suffered a fatal heart attack after learning her baby had died in the womb, an inquest has heard.

Her grieving husband Darren, 41, said he was convinced she had died of a broken heart after learning that their first child was dead.

Lindsay Clift, 29, collapsed in a hospital delivery suite on September 26 last year.

Doctors planned to induce labour, but found the baby, who the couple had already named Katy May, had died and Mrs Clift would have to go through a stillbirth. Her husband said: ‘There was no reason to think anything was going to go wrong that day. She walked in there fit and healthy.

‘In my view she was so heartbroken that she wanted to be with the baby.  This was a longed-for baby, it was mine and Lindsay’s first.’

On Thursday Mr Clift, who lived with his wife in Bilston, West Midlands, broke down in tears at her inquest.

His wife, a hairdresser, died of an amniotic fluid embolism – a rare condition affecting one in 200,000 mothers in the UK – which triggered a fatal heart attack, the inquest in Smethwick, West Midlands, heard. Pathologist Dr Adrian Yoong said he found skin cells and a fragment of hair in Mrs Clift’s lungs.

He said: ‘Sometimes material comes off the baby into the blood, including skin cells and so on. The only source could have been the amniotic fluid.

‘We can say fairly surely that the finding in the lung suggests not only an embolism, but that it was the cause of death.’

But Mr Clift has said he feels a broken heart played a part in his wife’s death. Shortly after the  tragedy, he said: ‘For them not to find an instant cause of death, it sort of strengthens my feeling, even if it’s medically nonsense, that she made the decision to go.

‘I still can’t believe how we got to this. The hospital were brilliant, they did everything they could.’

Mrs Clift, who married in May 2011, was brought to New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton to be induced 41 weeks and five days into her pregnancy.

A midwife raised the alarm after failing to find a heartbeat, and an ultrasound scan confirmed Katy May was dead.
Consultant obstetrician Dr David Churchill described how, as he  prepared for the urgent procedure, Mrs Clift collapsed, struggling to breathe. He said: ‘It was clear that she had had a cardiac arrest.’

She died hours later. Black  Country coroner Robin Balmain said the death was down to natural causes, adding: ‘This is a tragedy for everybody. Mrs Clift would no doubt have been anticipating a very exciting time. It was going to be her first child.’

8. Doting husband dies ‘of a broken heart’ day after wife passes away

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A devoted couple who were married for 55 years died within 21 hours of one another after the husband told his wife: ‘Close your eyes, I’m coming with you’.

George Pitman’s family believe he died of a broken heart last Thursday after spending a week at his wife Pat’s bedside, where she had been admitted to hospital with a shadow on her lung.

George, 77, from Middlesbrough, was seriously ill himself but refused to leave his beloved wife and as it became clear she was slipping away he held her hand and whispered those touching final words on Wednesday, November 19.

The great-grandfather – a retired HGV driver known as ‘Rocky’ suffered a heart aneurysm just 21 hours later.

Their daughter Jacqueline Gofton, one of their five children, and family are preparing for a heartbreaking joint funeral.

"They spent their whole lives inseparable, so this is what they would have wanted,” she said.

"If they had been given a choice, this is the one they would have chosen. Dad died of a broken heart.

"It is just unbelievable how this has happened. It's as if they knew, though.

"When we came back to their house the next day, Dad had put a box on the bed with all of the birth certificates in and all of the legal documents.”

The couple had a large circle of friends and spent three nights a week at the local bowls club playing bingo.

They met on a blind date and married on Valentine’s Day in 1959.

Their daughter Angela Gould added: "They really were inseparable, they were never apart. It seems fitting that they even died together."

Pat and George will take their final journey in the same hearse at their funeral on Friday.

9. Days after her daughter's death, Janine Bohnert died 'of a broken heart'

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Earlville, N.Y. -- Late Wednesday night, Janine Bohnert climbed into her daughter's empty bed. The room still had the trappings of a little girl's imagination: Fairy lights twinkled from the windows. Favorite family photos covered the walls.

That day had been one of unimaginable, unrelenting heartbreak at Chad and Janine Bohnert's home.

They were making funeral plans for their 19-year-old daughter, Abigail. As head-strong as she was kind, Abby was the "liberal tree-hugger" in a conservative family. Her dream was to be a lawyer who advocated for children.

But her heart mysteriously stopped while she was out to dinner Monday night. Abby Bohnert could not be revived. Instead of figuring out how to pay for law school, her parents were finding her a cemetery plot.

After that long day, Janine Bohnert settled in to bed Wednesday night. Chad Bohnert said good night to his wife. Their son, Austin, reeling from his older sister's death, made his mother "pinky promise" she'd be there in the morning. That was Janine Bohnert's thing: if something was important with the kids, they'd link their pinky fingers to seal an unbreakable promise.

But when Chad Bohnert went in at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, he found his wife, who was 42, dead.

"The stress was unbelievable," he said. Janine Bohnert, who lived to take care of her children, died "of a broken heart," her husband said.

Chad Bohnert said the family, who is still waiting to find out what killed their daughter, declined an autopsy for his wife. Janine Bohnert's health was fragile: She was recovering from intestinal surgery, which was part of the reason why she was sleeping in her daughter's bed. It was lower than her bed, and easier to get into. Abby had been staying at her grandparent's house before she died.

But Janine Bohnert had been doing well, her husband said. The couple, who celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary earlier this month, planned to go away for the first time without their kids when Janine was completely healed.

Instead, Chad Bohnert is writing two obituaries, planning a double funeral, and trying to figure out how he and his 17-year-old son Austin will go on.

And then there is the matter of the cats. "Both Janine and Abby were the patron saints of lost cats," Chad Bohnert said.

Stray cats would make their way to the country doorstep. Then, with a few sad meows, they were in. It was a home where there was always a lap to sit in and a hand to scratch behind their ears. Sometimes, there were even milkshakes.

Now the cats look lost, Chad Bohnert said.

Janine Bohnert took care of everyone. Her husband joked that Abby, always a bit of a klutz, fell in heaven and needed her mom to come fix her up. "I guess she already fell down in heaven," Chad wrote of his daughter in his wife's obituary.

The two married when Chad was 19 and Janine was 22. They met the year before, online in an internet chat room. He said he was a junior, and let Janine think he was a junior in college, but he was still in high school. She was a freshman at SUNY Cortland.

That same day, he drove to Cortland to meet her. They began dating, and married the following year after his high school graduation.

Abby was born the next year, and her brother, Austin, came two years later. The kids were Janine's world. Chad went to Utica College, and then began working in marketing and polling for Zogby in Utica.

From the start, Abby had struggles with her health. She had severe eczema and allergies.

She nearly died when she was 2, Chad said. She would have if it hadn't been for Janine's intuition.

Janine was baking when Abby took a bite of a walnut. She started acting funny, and her lips began turning blue. Janine knew right away that it was an allergic reaction. They drove as fast as they could to the hospital, where Abby was quickly treated and recovered.

The child's allergies were a struggle even recently. The family spent years taking her to get tests to try to figure out what was causing her severe eczema, a skin condition that burns and itches. When she was little, Janine would rub Abby's spots for hours to relieve the itching while keeping the child from scratching herself.

When Abby went to kindergarten, Janine went back to college to finish the degree she put on hold years before. She majored in sociology and anthropology at Utica College. She began graduate school for her master's degree, but then Janine Bohnert started struggling with her own health issues.

That didn't keep her from helping everyone else: A friend of Austin Bohnert's called after his mother died. He said she was the thing that got him through the math and science finals this year.

The kids would come with to the house with their homework and Janine Bohnert would guide them through it.

"She'd help anybody who needed it," Chad Bohnert said.

When Janine Bohnert was studying anthropology, she did a project about veterans' cemeteries. She took little Abby with her as she took pictures and jotted notes.

In recent years, Abby, a poet and artist, began returning to one of those cemeteries. Poolville Cemetery, a small, quiet spot, is three miles from the family's home. Abby would often walk there and sit by the Sangerfield River that runs through it while sketching and writing poetry.

She did just a month ago, her father said.

When the girl died, one of Chad Bohnert's aunts said she had two spots at that cemetery. Take them, she told Bohnert.

Sure, he said. But he only needed one.

Now, though, he will use both plots to bury mother and daughter side by side in a quiet place by the river where his daughter came to dream.

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