The family of Irma Garcia — one of the two teachers who sacrificed their lives to save their students at the Robb Elementary shooting in Uvalde, Texas — is now also mourning the loss of another family member. Garcia’s husband, Joe, died Thursday of a heart attack, minutes after dropping off flowers at her memorial, The New York Times reports.
“Extremely heartbreaking and come with deep sorrow to say that my Tia Irma’s husband Joe Garcia has passed away due to grief,” wrote John Martinez, Garcia’s nephew, on Twitter. “I truly am at a loss for words for how we are all feeling. Please pray for our family. God have mercy on us, this isn’t easy.”
EXTREMELY heartbreaking and come with deep sorrow to say that my Tia Irma’s husband Joe Garcia has passed away due to grief, i truly am at a loss for words for how we are all feeling, PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR FAMILY, God have mercy on us, this isn’t easy pic.twitter.com/GlUSOutRVV
— john martinez ❤️🔥 (@fuhknjo) May 26, 2022
He “pretty much just fell over,” Martinez told The Times. “I’m really in shock right now.”
Martinez described Joe and Irma as “high school sweethearts” in a tweet. The couple shared four children, ages 23, 19, 15, and 13. “No child should have to go through this,” Martinez wrote. “My heart breaks for them.”
The family of the Garcia couple launched a GoFundMe to cover the funeral expenses of Irma, and later updated it to include Joe. They’ve raised nearly $100,000.
“I truly believe Joe died of a broken heart,” wrote the couple’s family on GoFundMe. “Losing the love of his life of more than 25 years was too much to bear.”
Another family member of Garcia wrote, “Tio Joe i really hope you tell tia how we were all looking for her. i heard your voice one last time. i’m so sorry.”
“These two will make anyone feel loved no matter what,” tweeted a third family member, sharing a photo of the couple. “They have the purest hearts ever I love you sm tia and tio please be with me every step of the way.”
Lord god please on our family, my tias husband passed away this morning due to a heart attack at home he’s with his wife now, these two will make anyone feel loved no matter what they have the purest hearts ever I love you sm tia and tio please be with me every step of the way pic.twitter.com/opivBERMvv
— Joey.mtz (@Joeymtz4) May 26, 2022
Following the mass shooting that claimed the lives of 19 children and two adults, Garcia was identified as one of the victims. She worked as a fourth grade teacher at Robb Elementary during her entire 23-year teaching career.
“She sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her classroom,” Joey Martinez, another one of Garcia’s nephews, tweeted. “She died a HERO. She was loved by many and will truly be missed.”
The GoFundMe described Irma as someone who “would literally do anything for anybody,” and who “loved her classroom kids.”