Husband of Grandma Who Accidentally Invited Teen to Thanksgiving Dies of Coronavirus

The stranger turned family friend, Jamal Hilton, revealed both Lonnie and Wanda Dench had contracted COVID-19 last week.

Social media tributes poured in on Thursday for the late husband of the grandma who went viral after she accidentally texted the wrong teen and subsequently invited him to Thanksgiving, making it a yearly tradition.

The stranger turned family friend, Jamal Hilton, took to his Twitter to reveal Lonnie Dench, husband to Wanda Dench, died on Sunday, days after contracting the coronavirus.

“As some of you may have already found out tonight Lonnie did not make it… he passed away Sunday morning but Wanda told me all the love and support he was receiving put a huge smile on his face so I thank every single one of you guys for that!??”

Wanda honored her husband in a statement to AZ Family, saying, “He had the truest heart of love, like no other. He did so many acts of kindness that no one ever heard about. He was my hero. And I’m a better person because of him.”

“RIP Lonnie” began to trend after condolences flooded in from online followers.

“Please continue to send Wanda EXTRA virtual hugs & love on behalf of allllllll us, during this incredibly difficult time,” wrote one Twitter user.

Another fan posted, “I really hate to see this. I’ve been following your Holiday dinner stories with this family since they began. God made no mistake bringing you guys together. You all were family. And you’ll be family for a lifetime.”

The news follows Jamal’s tweet on April 1 where he shared a picture of himself with Lonnie and Wanda while revealing they were both fighting the coronavirus.

“I am so sad to announce that Wanda and Lonnie both have COVID-19 and that Lonnie is currently in the hospital fighting both COVID and Pneumonia please send words of love and encouragement their way Yellow heart??”

On Thursday, Jamal gave an update on Wanda’s condition, posting, “Also for those asking Wanda is not sick”

It’s been four years since a phone number mix-up brought Wanda and Jamal together for Thanksgiving.

Wanda accidentally texted Jamal in 2016, believing she was inviting her grandson over for the annual family feast. After discovering their lines were crossed, Jamal asked if he could “still get a plate” at her house, with Wanda responding, “Of course you can. That’s what grandmas do — feed everyone.”

Living about an hour apart from each other in Arizona, they decided to meet up, with their story becoming a viral sensation. “Somebody grandma is coming in clutch this year!! Ayee!!!” wrote Jamal on Twitter at the time, racking up 132,000 likes.

And every Thanksgiving since, they’ve made it a tradition to come together and catch up.

Read below for more heartfelt reactions to the sad news:

[via TooFab]

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