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Yes, You Can Actually Die of a Broken Heart

Rare and sporadic, these patterns are hard to discern

On May 26, 2022, Joe Garcia died suddenly of a heart attack just two days after his wife, Irma, was killed in the Uvalde, Texas school shooting. The papers reported a Garcia's family member saying, "I truly believe Joe died of a broken heart."

As a cardiac scientist working in this field, I am regularly asked to comment on tragic cases like these. Sometimes, they are celebrities such as Debbie Reynolds, who died soon after her daughter, Carrie Fisher. But often, they are long-married couples who pass away on the same day or soon after.

These events can be rare and sporadic, so it is hard to find a pattern. But large and well-controlled studies are now confirming that this is a real phenomenon and are measuring its extent. A U.S. study on short and long-term associations between widowhood and mortality, following 12,000 people who are over 50 years old and in stable couples, showed that male participants were nearly twice as likely to die in the three months following their partners death, and that increased death rates were still seen over a year later.

Please select this link to read the complete article from TIME.

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