Grieving husband of teacher killed in Texas school shooting dies of heart attack, family says

Joe Garcia had been married to his high school sweetheart, Irma, for 24 years before she was gunned down at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

Joe Garcia had been married to his high school sweetheart, Irma, for 24 years before she was gunned down at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

UVALDE, Texas – The husband of one of the teachers killed in a Texas school shooting this week collapsed and died on Thursday while preparing for his wife’s funeral, the family said.

Joe Garcia had been married to high school sweetheart, Irma Garcia, for 24 years before she was gunned down Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

“I don’t even know how to feel. I don’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it” that Joe Garcia has passed away, Irma Garcia’s nephew, John Martinez, told NBC News.

Read more on NBC News here.

Broken Heart Syndrome

While we don’t know the exact cause of death for Joe Garcia, his family says he died from grief.

“I truly believe Joe died of a broken heart and losing the love of his life of more than 25 years was too much to bear,” said Debra Austin, Irma Garcia’s cousin, on the family’s Go Fund Me page.

“Based on the timing and circumstances of his death, I think, definitely broken heart syndrome should be kept on the table,” said cardiologist, Dr. George Adesina, with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

He said a sudden surge of adrenaline in the bloodstream can cause a sort of heart failure. Symptoms include: shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain. While it’s technically different form a heart attack, it’s just as deadly.

“If you have this undo or uncontrolled stress, this can cause 100% real cardiovascular consequences,” Dr. Adesina said. “Even everyday stress that we have in our lives can cause increases in your blood pressure and your heart rate and those two things (if they’re poorly controlled or uncontrolled) can actually predispose you to having, or increase your risk of having cardiovascular issues down the road and patients who already have a confirmed diagnosis of heart disease can cause worsening of those issues as well.”

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