Broken heart syndrome

Death by broken heart

To all the grieving people out there, watch that left ventricle — broken-heart syndrome is real.

People do actually die of a broken heart.

There are many famous examples, including the actress Debbie Reynolds, singer Johnny Cash, and the American writer Jim Harrison.

‘Broken-heart syndrome’ — Takotsubo cardiomyopathy — is a weakening of the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber.

One of main causes is severe emotional and physical stress from the loss of a loved one.


Surging stress hormones (e.g. adrenaline) “stun” the heart, triggering changes in heart muscle cells and/or coronary blood vessels that prevent the left ventricle from contracting effectively.

Takotsubo symptoms — chest pain and shortness of breath — are indistinguishable from those of a heart attack. Most cases occur in women between the ages of 58 and 75. The condition was first described in 1990 in Japan. (Source: Harvard Medical School)

Broken heart syndrome

Debbie Reynolds died of a stroke one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died of a heart attack in 2016. Debbie’s last words were:

“I miss her so much, I want to be with Carrie.”

Broken heart syndrome

Johnny Cash died four months after his beloved wife June Carter Cash died of heart surgery complications in 2003.

Johnny was being treated for diabetes, which extreme grief turned into a deadly condition.


Jim Harrison died of a heart attack at the age of 78 in 2016, a little over five months after the death of his wife Linda. “After she died,” Harrison said of his wife of 55 years, “I was so depressed I was thinking of suicide.”

Husband died just hours after Mary

Just hours after ‘Dr Who’ actress
Mary Tamm died of cancer in 2012, her husband Marcus Ringrose died. He had just delivered the eulogy at Mary’s funeral and was sitting at his computer writing thank you notes to those who had sent condolences.

Died within minutes of each other

Doug Flutie’s parents

The parents of former Boston College football star and NFL quarterback Doug Flutie passed away within minutes of one another in 2015. Flutie’s father Richard died of a heart attack and less than an hour later, his mother Joan, devastated from the loss, also suffered a fatal heart attack.

There are countless other less famous broken-heart deaths.

I’m coming with you.”

British couple George and Pat Pittman were married for 55 years after first meeting on a blind date and then marrying on Valentine’s Day, 1959. As Pat lay dying in a hospital bed in 2015, George whispered to her, “Close your eyes, I’m coming with you.” Twenty one hours later George died.

All he wanted was to be with her.”

Californian couple Don and Maxine Simpson died four hours apart in August of last year. Don had held Maxine’s hand during her final hours and after her body was removed from the room, Don also died. “All he wanted was to be with his beautiful wife,” a grandson said. “He loved her to the end of the earth.”

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5 thoughts on “Death by broken heart

  1. Loss, Sorrow,loneliness, My Love, My Best ever Friend, Just left this life, I would have never believed that She would beat me out of this Life, Oh! Brother’s & Sister’s my home is So Empty, So Lonely; We shared 30 + Years here Together!

  2. Brother, we are more than 3,200 miles apart but shared grief may have bridged the gap a little. Like your situation, my wife was my life for 34 years. Keep writing, you have a powerful style, so real.

  3. When my Love, my Best Ever, Friend departed, I was sure that I would beat Her out of this place, but I was wrong, Her Heart has stopped, yet mine keeps beating! I drank for 40 days and forty nights, and took maybe two bites of food, yet I am still alive! I have a purpose that keeps me alive, I have to gift away the money I saved up^ for her to live on if I left before her, I am finding Good causes to donate that money to, people dedicated to make our world a Better Place. What do I need $$$$$ for? She is gone and I can exist on practically Nothing! It got so my shit was pure water! We Mourn, yet we go on……I decided I would just let my mind roam, write as many words as I could, before I also follow, and try to find Her again. She is out there, just waiting for me to show up^……And I gave up^ killing fish a long time ago, so I am just Drinking…..When I want a fish, I just go into Homer, to the Cosmic Cafe, and order up^ Wasabi Halibut!…….Story: When I worked on boats I would fish for Halibut, I would use a little strip of the package of “Top Ramen Noodles” and I would hook them and reel them in, then I would remove the hook and set them free with the warning: “Watch Out for HOOKS! I exist in a crazy, Magical World!

  4. Years ago I learned that I had to Fear no Man, because I learned to treat all men as Equals…..No Bad people would ever dare to enter into my life, I had a Guardian Angel sitting on my shoulders, I had no need to carry a Gun, because I had the Power of a Word, or a few Words: “Stop, and Think about what you are Doing!.,

  5. Yes, I also thought I would go first, being six years older but, like you, here I am. I like your life, the log cabin, the fishing, the drinking, alcohol is good. You’re a good man, Alaskaman.