Evan W. Smith Quoted in Bay to Bay News - Broken Hearts Syndrome

In recent weeks, six elderly people who died within days of their spouses have graced the pages of the Delaware State News’ Obituaries section.


Evan Smith, the owner and operator of Evan W. Smith Funeral Services in Dover, said these sorts of deaths — often attributed to something called “broken heart syndrome” — are not uncommon.


“We see that quite often. It’s typically mistaken for a heart attack or maybe even a stroke,” he said of the condition that causes the heart to stop working due to emotional stress. “The type you typically see it with have been married for 50-plus years with children and (had) a good life together. They typically die within hours, if not days, of one another.”


But in the past year, he said these dual deaths have also been due to something else.


“Pre-COVID, yes, it was broken heart syndrome. In the past 12 months, it’s probably some broken heart syndrome, but it’s coupled with COVID,” Mr. Smith said. “Unfortunately, with close relationships like that, when one catches COVID, the other catches it, as well.”


Mr. Smith said he could think of five or six instances off the top of his head that would fit this description.


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