A 78-year-old Mississippi man has died two weeks after he woke up in a body bag at a funeral home after being mistakenly pronounced dead, a coroner says.
Holmes County coroner Dexter Howard said Walter Williams died at his home in Lexington around 1 a.m. Thursday. The cause was not released.
Williams's story went viral after he was pronounced dead Feb. 26. Workers at Porter and Sons Funeral Home were getting ready to embalm him when Williams started to move.
The father of 11, grandfather of 15, and great-grandfather of six had gone into hospice in late February because of congestive heart failure. He was declared dead by a coroner the first time when neither the coroner nor others, including nurses, could find a pulse.
The same coroner and the same funeral home director declared Williams dead this time, his nephew, Eddie Hester, told CBC News' As It Happens. Hester said there were no doubts this time, and his family was grateful for the extra time they had with Williams.
"I guess it was just his time. I thank the good lord for letting my uncle stay here a little bit longer," he said.
After he was mistakenly declared dead, Williams was rushed to a hospital and released a few days later. Doctors say a mix of medicines may have caused his vital signs to appear unresponsive.
"After they got through checking him, the coroner, they pronounced him dead and put him in a plastic bag, zipped him up and took him, put him in the hearse and they left," said Hester.
"The mortician said something wasn't right," said Williams' daughter, Martha A. Lewis. "His leg started moving."
Family members also said Williams' pacemaker may have stopped working and started again.
Howard, the coroner, called it a miracle at the time.