A 28-year-old man died suddenly four months after his wedding day. Up until then, Jeanluke Galea Duca seemed healthy; he was active and didn’t smoke. He was working from home that morning when his wife, Rebecca, tried to contact him. After no response, she went home to check on him with his father and found he had passed away.
28-year-old dies four months after wedding day
Jeanluke was described by friends and colleagues as quiet, good-hearted, mature, and energetic. The sudden death inspired many tributes on social media from grieving friends and loved ones. His aunt, singer Ina Robinich, said she was shocked and reminisced on how happy his father was when he learned he was going to have a son. Many messages came from Heartcore+, a fitness group on Facebook that he was a part of. 
“We grew up together, high school, we remained good friends,” said his close friend, Sheldon Scicluna, in a post on social media. I was with you when you first met Rebecca exactly eleven years ago. I saw your love grow until you got married… Little did I think I would get this devastating news today.
“We had so much fun at your bachelor party and wedding. One of the most beautiful moments of my life. I remember you telling me of the great feeling of having your friends sharing your wedding day with you. I remember shedding a tear when you exchanged rings and called each other husband and wife. One still asks, why does this happen? You were so healthy, so kind-hearted. I still can’t find an answer...” 
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Although the cause of death is unknown, inside sources confirmed that it’s assumed his death is from natural causes and there were no third parties involved. These sources also refute the theories circulating on social media that the death linked to the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I love you forever sweetheart”
One post is from his wife who wrote, “Everyone loved you”. Rebecca recounted the morning before she left for work, not knowing it would be the last time seeing him alive. Jeanluke had asked her to stay home for a little longer. “Just this morning I told you ‘Ciao, sweetheart, I love you,” she wrote. “Who would have told me this would be our final goodbye? Your final words to me were ‘Oh come on, stay next to me’ and I said I couldn’t because I had to go to work. You replied: ‘Oh OK beautiful I love you.’”
She talked about how he had always treated her like a queen, ending with “I love you forever sweetheart… I tried everything to try and save you.” 
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Grief after a sudden death
Any death is devastating and traumatic but a sudden loss brings on a different kind of grief. Many people experience deep shock hearing the news, and the suddenness can leave them feeling scared and vulnerable. Disbelief and denial are common stages of grief but they may last longer in these cases; sometimes the mourner will feel numb, as if the death hadn’t happened, or hold out hope that there was a mistake and the deceased is still alive. Because it was so unexpected, there’s much remorse over unfinished business and missed opportunities.
There’s often no real sense of closure, and the mourner may feel guilty and wish they could have prevented the death. In any case, it’s important for the bereaved to reach out to friends and loved ones for support in their grief. 
However, support can be hard to come by. “Many bereaved people experience another secondary loss when friends and family run away after a loss due to their own discomfort,” said Sherry Cormier, a psychologist and certified bereavement trauma specialist. Facing their friend’s grief could make them feel anxious about death, she added, “They think, ‘That could happen to me.’” 
Even so, it’s imperative for people to reach out to those grieving. Instead of feeling abandoned, they can feel supported and capable of getting through this painful time. One way to show support is by taking on tasks. Sudden bereavement means new and pressing responsibilities. So Dr. Cormier suggests offering to help. If they can’t think of a specific task, offer something specific, like picking up groceries or babysitting. Often, mourners feel too overwhelmed to delegate tasks, so offers like “let me know if you need anything” can be too vague to be helpful.
When you reach out to a mourner, listen more than talk, don’t give advice, and take your cues from them. They may want you to just be present with them, they may want to talk about the story of their loss, and they may even want to talk about anything but. Avoid asking about details about the death; instead ask about the deceased person’s life and share any fond memories you may have of them. And don’t stop reaching out. Time may heal but a loss is forever.
The grief never completely goes away and the bereaved can struggle long after people assume they are “okay.” Check-in periodically, especially during times when the grief may feel stronger, like during major holidays or family celebrations.
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- “’Healthy’ 28-year-old man dies four months after wedding day.” Times of Malta. Claudia Calleja. October 19, 2022
- “Post mortem on Jeanluke Galea Duca tomorrow: “everyone loved you” – his wife Rebecca.” TVM News. Aqra bil-Malti. October 19, 2022
- “Wife of young man found dead at home shares poignant final conversation.” Times of Malta. October 19, 2022
- “Coping With Grief After a Sudden Death.” DSAMH. Robin F. Goodman, PhD, ATR-BC.
- “How to Help a Loved One Through Sudden Loss.” The New York Times. Julie Halpert. January 7, 2022