News Leak Centre

No Fear No Favour

Auckland couple died on the same day after 54 years of marriage

Falling in love has become quite easy these days but staying in a true relation is damn hard.

Here is a couple from Auckland who stayed together for 54 years and both died of cancer on Friday within eight hours of each other.

Yvonne, 73, had an aggressive tumour near her kidney and spine and Robert, 78, had lung and liver cancer

Their four children, now in their late 40s and 50s, say they have no doubt their father gave up the will to live after seeing the love of his life pass away

Robert first saw Yvonne zip past him on a motorcycle in Niue, where she was born, and he knew immediately he had to pursue her.

The couple’s final months together were plagued by sickness but Robert still found the strength to kiss Yvonne on the forehead every night.

They lived together in a cottage in Mangere East, on the same section as three of their children, and there was always someone home to help them.

However, Yvonne still found the energy to fuss over Robert and prepared his dinner when she could.

On Friday, when the paramedics were called for Yvonne, who had deteriorated rapidly and wasn’t breathing, they also needed to attend to Robert who had developed pneumonia.

Ken said he saw the fight go out of his dad once he heard his wife had died.

“He said ‘oh no, oh no’. He practically died of a broken heart. He kissed her goodbye on the forehead and on the head and then we had to take him to the hospital.”

Robert died a few hours later, just as his children were making funeral arrangements for Yvonne.

“We know that he lost the will to live because the love of his life had passed away. We know that if mum was still with us, he would still be with us,” Ken said.

The couple will be farewelled at a joint service in Papatoetoe on Wednesday.

Their children will travel back to Niue to bury their parents’ ashes side by side, in the place where they first met and fell in love.

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