Two days after Irma Garcia, a fourth-grade teacher at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, was killed in a school shooting, her husband, Joe Garcia, died from a heart attack.
Garcia’s nephew, John Martinez, announced the news on Twitter Thursday, saying his uncle’s death was triggered by “grief.”
“EXTREMELY heartbreaking and come with deep sorrow to say that my Tia Irma’s husband Joe Garcia has passed away due to grief,” Martinez tweeted. “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.”
According to The New York Times, Garcia, 50, brought flowers to his wife’s memorial on Thursday morning. Martinez told the paper that Garcia “pretty much just fell over” after returning home. (There is some medical basis for the idea that extreme emotional distress can have fatal effects.)
Martinez described his aunt and uncle as “high school sweethearts” with four “beautiful children.”
“My Tia Irma and Joe garcia were high school sweethearts and leave behind 4 beautiful children, their ages being 23, 19, 15 and the youngest only being 13 years old,” Martinez wrote on Twitter. “No child should have to go through this, my heart breaks for them.”
Martinez told People the couple were married for 24 years.
Irma Garcia died while attempting to shield her fourth-grade students from the 18-year-old gunman who opened fire in her classroom. She was killed with her teaching partner, Eva Mireles, and 19 students. Martinez described his aunt as a hero.
In a note to students on her school profile, Irma Garcia said that she loved to “BBQ with my husband, listen to music, and take country cruises to Concan.”
She also celebrated her children’s accomplishments:
I have my eldest Cristian son completing Marine boot camp and another son Jose attending Texas State University. My eldest daughter Lyliana will be a sophomore in high school and my youngest Alysandra will be a 7th grader this year.
The Garcia family did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Martinez, a student at Texas State University, posted a link to a GoFundMe campaign, set up by Irma Garcia’s cousin Debra Austin, to assist with various expenses. He also set up a GoFundMe campaign of his own dedicated to funeral costs and the family’s needs.
Tuesday’s mass killing was the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.