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Your Body: Is It Possible to Die of a Broken Heart?

iStock/ThinkstockDR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

The recent untimely death of actress Carrie Fisher and the passing of her mother, film legend Debbie Reynolds, less than one day later, have brought the issues of loss and grief to the forefront -- with many asking the question: Is there such a thing as dying from a broken heart?

There have been reported instances of spouses dying within minutes or days of each other. It’s called takotsubo cardiomyopathy -- or the so-called "Broken Heart Syndrome."

This refers to a temporary stunning of the heart muscle in someone with normal arteries in their heart and it’s usually temporary. However, extreme sudden grief can definitely trigger a catastrophic medical event.

Bottom line: It is figuratively and literally possible to die of a broken heart.

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