The story of Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton, the grandmother and teen who launched a Thanksgiving tradition and an enduring family friendship following a text mix-up, now has a sad update.
Hinton took to Twitter Wednesday night to share the news that Dench’s husband, Lonnie, died of coronavirus earlier this week.
“As some of you may have already found out tonight Lonnie did not make it... he passed away Sunday morning,” Hinton wrote.
The news of Lonnie Dench’s passing comes a week after Hinton informed his followers that both Wanda and Lonnie, of Mesa, Arizona, were recently diagnosed with coronavirus.
At the time, he tweeted, “Lonnie is currently in the hospital fighting both COVID and Pneumonia please send words of love and encouragement their way.”
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In his tweet Wednesday, Hinton said, “Wanda told me all the love and support he was receiving put a huge smile on his face so I thank every single one of you guys for that!”
As for Wanda Dench, Hinton added a brief update to say that she “is not sick.”
Hinton and the Dench family captured the public's attention in 2016 when Wanda texted the then-17-year-old saying, "Thanksgiving is at my house on November 24th at 3PM."
When Hinton, who lived in Phoenix, asked who was messaging him, Dench responded, "Your grandma." The pair exchanged selfies and realized that they didn't know each other.
"You not my grandma. Can I still get a plate tho?" Hinton asked, prompting Dench to invite him over.
The mistake started its own Thanksgiving tradition — Hinton and the Dench family have celebrated the holiday together every year since.
Hinton has said that he and the family are true friends.
In May 2019, he shared a selfie of himself, Lonnie and Wanda, and his girlfriend, Mikaela, on Instagram, with a caption saying the photo was "for everyone who thinks it's just for the cameras and social media," he added, "Blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives."