A Phoenix woman died after suffering a heart attack during her husband’s funeral at the Clare Estate Crematorium on Saturday afternoon.
Mike Naidoo, 77, died in hospital last Wednesday from stage four cancer.
As the undertakers wheeled his body into a furnace for cremation, his wife, Shirley Naidoo, 70, began having seizures in a car outside the crematorium.
She subsequently suffered a heart attack and lost consciousness.
Mourners took her out of the vehicle to a shady spot at the crematorium.
Doctors who were there tried to assist while waiting for paramedics.
When they arrived they spent half an hour trying to revive her, but failed. She was cremated on Sunday.
The couple’s niece, Cheryl Naidu, said: “We huddled around each other in tears. Many of us could not believe what was happening. Her sons were completely distraught, having just said goodbye to their father.”
The couple, from Rockford, would have celebrated their 50th anniversary in just 30 days.
“They were inseparable and now even death could not tear them apart. He was diagnosed with throat cancer in February. This came as a shock to the family because he always had a clean bill of health. My aunty was his pillar of strength. She remained calm and supported him every step of the way.”
Naidu said she had never seen a couple more in love with each other than her uncle and aunt.
“They were role models for all the younger couples in our family. They were excited about celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on November 30. My aunt planned on making dinner for the family.”
Their marriage, said Naidu, was arranged by her uncle’s sister-in-law, Sheila and her aunt’s mother, Sarojini.
The couple tied the knot in a Hindu ceremony in 1969. They later converted to Christianity.
Mike worked in the shipping industry for 40 years, while Shirley took care of their home.
Fifteen years ago they lost their second born, Shaun, who died after suffering a heart attack. He was 29.
“Losing Shaun was not easy but this strengthened their love and marriage. Their bond grew closer.”
Naidu said what was significant for the family was watching her uncle’s ashes and aunt’s body leaving the crematorium together.
“It gave us a sense of peace knowing that they are together. The family intends to bury their ashes at Shaun’s grave site at the Woodview Cemetery.”
The couple are survived by their sons, Kuben and Theo, and five grandchildren.