A New Zealand Couple died peacefully nine hours apart from each other, just one year after celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.
Peter Bedford, 86, and his wife Ruth, 83, both died on May 14, according to a death notice published in the New Zealand Herald on Monday.
“It’s good they went together. They would have been completely lost without each other,’’ daughter Caroline Bedford told local news site, Stuff.Peter Bedford was admitted to hospital on Saturday evening. “I think Mum decided he wasn’t coming back,’’ their daughter said. Ruth Bedford died at home in the North Island’s Kaitoke at 10am on May 14 (2200 GMT May 13), with her husband following hours later after hearing of her death.
Peter Bedford had emigrated from Britain after World War II where he met and fell in love with his future spouse, whom he married on Dec. 30, 1957.
While the passing of longtime couples within hours of each other is relatively rare, the phenomenon of “death by heartbreak” has been the subject of a series of studies.
A 2013 Harvard study found that the likelihood of a person dying increased 30 per cent during the first three months after their spouse’s death.
Grief is extraordinarily stressful, especially for older people, with broken heart syndrome, also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy, able to strike a previously healthy partner.
Women are more likely than men to experience the sudden, intense chest pain, similar to a heart attack, caused by a surge of stress hormones following a spouse’s death.