The husband of a teacher who died protecting the children in her class during the Uvalde school shooting in Texas has died of a heart attack.
Irma Garcia was one of 21 people, including 19 children and two teachers, shot dead in Robb Elementary School on Tuesday night.
Less than two days after Irma’s death, her husband Joe Garcia passed away due to a heart attack, ABC News reported. The couple leave behind four teenage children.
Irma’s cousin, Debra Austin, said she believes “Joe died of a broken heart as losing the love of his life of more than 30 years was too much to bear”.
A GoFundMe account set up by Debra for the couple’s children has raised over $130,000 in 24 hours.
Debra said Irma was a teacher that “loved her classroom kids and died trying to protect them”.
“Irma was a wife, a mother of 4, a cousin, a sister, a daughter, an aunt and a wonderful person. She would literally do anything for anybody……no questions asked. She loved her classroom kids and died trying to protect them.
“I am equally devastated to report Irma’s husband Joe has tragically passed away this morning as a result of a medical emergency. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers.
Joe’s nephew, John Martinez, said he doesn’t “even know how to feel. I don’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it”, on the death of Joe just two days after Irma’s passing.
“Extremely heartbreaking and comes with deep sorrow to say that my Tia (aunt) Irma’s husband Joe Garcia has passed away due to grief, I truly am at a loss for words for how we are all feeling, PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR FAMILY, God have mercy on us, this isn’t easy,” John said on Twitter.
He told NBC News that Joe had just returned from delivering flowers to a memorial for Irma when he took ill.
“When he got home, he was at home for no more than three minutes after sitting down on a chair with the family. He just fell over. They tried doing chest compressions and nothing worked. The ambulance came and they couldn’t, they couldn’t bring him back,” John said.