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"Broken heart syndrome" is caused by sudden stress -- usually shocking news

Stress hormones in the bloodstream bombard the heart but typically cause no lasting damage

CNN —  

Already mourning, fans can’t help but lament the painful coincidence: One day after actress Carrie Fisher’s death at age 60, her mother, actress and singer Debbie Reynolds, died unexpectedly of unknown causes. Reynolds, 84, had complained of breathing problems, an unnamed sourced told the Los Angeles Times.

When married couples or family members die in quick succession, it’s easy to sentimentally attribute the second death to a broken heart.