By KNXV Staff | February 4, 2021 at 2:29 AM EST – Updated February 4 at 2:29 AM
PHOENIX (KNXV) – An Arizona couple died from COVID-19 just seconds apart while holding hands, days after they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
Sally and Manny Montano met in Phoenix in their early teens while the latter was on leave from Vietnam. A few years later, they got married and had four kids. The two were inseparable, and their son Manuel Montano and his wife Debra got to witness that love firsthand.
“Just that love that they had for each other, that’s all I knew. And that’s what I strive for,” Manuel Montano said.
Both Sally and Manny Montano had underlying health conditions, so when they contracted COVID-19, they ended up in the hospital in early January. They were on ventilators for weeks.
“We requested to have them in the same room, and they had their beds close to each other. So, that kind of helped them a little bit because they said Dad’s vitals went up when he realized she was there,” Manuel Montano said.
On Jan. 28, five days after they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, Sally and Manny Montano died holding hands, just seconds apart. She was 68, and he was 71.
“It was amazing. They lived for each other,” Manuel Montano said.
“It was the way they would’ve wanted it, and it just showed the depth of their love for one another,” Debra Montano said.
The family has since found letters, birthday and Valentine’s Day cards that the couple wrote each other, filled with jokes and love.
“He wasn’t a talkative person. He didn’t say more than what was necessary at any given time. So, to see his heart on his sleeve like it was in those letters, it was very touching. It showed how deep he truly loved his family and how they were everything to him,” Debra Montano said.
The family doesn’t know how the couple got COVID-19 since they were careful and took precautions, but they hope their story will encourage others to take care of one another.
“Family is so important. You gotta keep them close. You gotta love them unconditionally,” Debra Montano said.
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