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Family hunts for answers after couple dies of mysterious illness on Fiji vacation

David and Michelle Paul, who were parents of a 2-year-old son, died from an unknown illness on a dream vacation in Fiji.
/ Source: TODAY

The family of a young Texas couple who died in Fiji is searching for answers after the pair came down with an unknown illness just days into their dream vacation.

David and Michelle Paul of Fort Worth arrived in Fiji on May 22 for a trip of a lifetime, but were soon taken to a hospital with severe symptoms. They died several days later.

"Nobody's telling me what was the cause of the death," Michelle's father, Marc Calanog, told Miguel Almaguer on TODAY. "And that's very hard for me."

The family said both David and Michelle, who have a 2-year-old son, were healthy and in good shape; she was a former college athlete and he was an Air Force veteran. Their stunning fate has left family and friends reeling.

"My feeling is ... as parents we are not supposed to bury our children,'' Calanog said. "That is very hard for me. Very hard."

Couple's mysterious death
David and Michelle Paul leave behind a 2-year-old son. "They have all these dreams, taking pictures and just going to the beach and enjoying their life," Michelle's father said. Courtesy of Tracey Calanog

The two fell ill one day before they were expected to return home.

Calanog said that his daughter contacted him from Fiji to say the two had gotten sick and planned to go to a local clinic. She said she was vomiting, having diarrhea and experiencing numbness in her hands.

"Both of them are experiencing the same kind of sickness," Calanog said.

The pair ended up dying a few days apart. A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department confirmed their deaths to NBC News.

Family members said David and Michelle Paul's cause of death remains a mystery.
Family members said David and Michelle Paul's cause of death remains a mystery. Courtesy of Tracey Calanog

"We are closely monitoring local authorities' investigation into the cause of death,'' the agency said in a statement. "We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance."

The couple were parents of a son, Ayden, 2, and David also had a daughter from a previous relationship.

"Every time people call my wife, she cries very hard,'' Calanog said. "But I keep telling my wife we got to stay strong because we have a new job, Ayden. We have to take care of Ayden."