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Husband dies 1 day after wife: 'He waited for Mother to go first'

A couple in Minnesota died 33 hours apart after being married for 68 years and raising seven children together.
/ Source: TODAY

Bob Johnson couldn't take more than one day apart from the love of his life after his wife of 68 years died last week.

Johnson, 88, died from cancer 33 hours after losing his wife, Corinne, 87, on Nov. 24 when she died from congestive heart failure.

The Minnesota couple will be honored during funeral services Tuesday at Scandian Grove Lutheran Church in rural St. Peter.

“I sort of thought he looked like he could go for weeks,” the couple's son Bruce Johnson told NBC affiliate KARE. “As soon as Mom died, he went downhill and died in a day. It's hard to imagine it's a coincidence.”

Bob was the best friend of Corinne's brother Harold when the two were growing up in rural Nicollet County, according to her obituary.

They got married in 1951 after Bob spent most of their wedding day working on the fields at his family's farm with his brother.

The couple went on to raise seven children together at Norseland Eastview Farm, where they lived together for 67 years. They also had 14 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, according to Bob's obituary.

Bob was known for always letting Corinne go first, whether it was opening doors for her or waiting at the buffet line.

“So it was only fitting that in the end he waited for Mother to go first and then he passed away,” son Brent Johnson told KARE.

Experts have suggested various reasons for close coupled deaths among spouses, from spiritual to the medical condition known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy or stress cardiomyopathy — better known as dying of a broken heart.

It causes chest pain, shortness of breath and fainting. Stress cardiomyopathy is often blamed when couples die within days or even hours of one another like the Johnsons.