FLEMINGSBURG, KY. - Katie Prager, one half of the so-called "Fault in Our Stars" couple that made international headlines, has died in Kentucky of complications from cystic fibrosis. She was 26.
Katie's death comes five days after the death of her husband, Dalton Prager.
Katie and Dalton's love story is one that touched the lives of people across the world. The couple met on Facebook when they were both 18 and bonded over their battles with cystic fibrosis.
When they fell in love, Katie told Dalton she'd rather have five years with him than a lifetime without him. As fate would have it, the couple just celebrated their five-year anniversary, before passing away, five days apart.
They married in 2011 and lived together for a few short years. But, their health forced them to live in separate states, so they could receive around-the-clock care from family members.
NewsChannel 5 spoke with Katie over Skype just two weeks ago, when she was hoping to see Dalton in person one last time. She’d just found out that she was not eligible for a second lung transplant, and didn’t have much longer.
The couple’s final reunion in Kentucky never happened. Dalton passed away over the weekend. Now Katie has gone to join him.
Her words then carry new meaning now. “If we get to reunite, it’ll be really good,” she had said.
“I texted Dalton’s dad this morning," said Katie's father, John Donovan. "I said 'well, Katie and Dalton are together again, you know?'”
For Donovan, the loss of his only daughter is surreal: “I think it’s kind of just the way it was planned, you know what I mean? I’m not saying life and death is planned, but that just seems like the way it was meant to be.”
Dalton, who's from St. Charles County, died last weekend at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, surrounded by family while FaceTiming his wife. He had been placed in the intensive care unit after contracting pneumonia.
Katie died in Kentucky in her own bed, surrounded by family on Thursday morning.
"Dalton was waiting with open arms, as well as both her grandmother's and a host of family and friends that have gone before her. I know it is selfish to be sad, I had her so many days, but she is in the arms of Jesus today and she can breathe without oxygen, she no longer has to do dialysis and He has taken away all the pain she endured," her mother posted on Facebook Thursday morning.
The last time Katie and Dalton saw each other in person was on July 16, their fifth wedding anniversary.
Katie, who entered hospice care on September 2, set up a YouCaring page to raise money for a "Celebration of Life" for after her passing.
Katie had told NewsChannel 5 that the outpouring of support from St. Louisans and people around the world gave her encouragement in her final days, and said it’s part of the reason she lived as long as she did.
Meanwhile, Dalton's family is celebrating love this weekend, as they continue to mourn. Dalton's younger brother is getting married Saturday in Wright City.