Coronavirus: Elderly US couple hold hands as they die within six hours of each other

Mary and Wilford Kepler.
Mary and Wilford Kepler. Photo credit: WTMJ

An elderly couple battling COVID-19 in the US have died hand-in-hand within six hours of each other.

Wilford and Mary Kepler, from Wisconsin, died in the state's Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee last Saturday (local time).

In an interview with local news station WTMJ, granddaughter Natalie Lameka said their family "lost the glue that holds us together".

Wilford, 94, and Mary, 92, had both tested positive COVID-19 but to this day, the family is unsure how they contracted it. They had both been in hospital since early April.

Lameka said the family was "thankful" the couple could be together when they died.

"They were able to say, 'I love you'," she told WTMJ. "They had been holding hands and that was just heartbreaking to hear but also heartwarming to hear.

"We were just so thankful they were together and were aware they were together."

According to local media, the couple had been together for 73 years. Mary died six hours after her husband.

"They were aware [of] what was going on, and they were at peace with it," Lameka told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.