An elderly couple, married for nearly six decades, have committed suicide in New York City after the wife got too sick to leave home and the two decided they could no longer go on without the other.
The dead bodies of Joyce Hope Suskind, 88, and her husband Olaf Ringdahl, 86, were found by a close friend after carrying out an apparent suicide pact in their apartment in Manhattan on Sunday. The couple were found with plastic bags on their heads and both had left suicide notes.
According to the police, Suskind suffered from longtime degenerative heart problems and reportedly was unable to leave the house by herself.
Their friend, Stephen Collins, said the pair enjoyed a “very loving relationship,” and had been inseparable since they got married in 1960. They had no children.
“They always said they wanted to go together. They always wanted to exit together,” Collins said. “They had been saying that for years, at least 30 years. I was worried, because we speak every day. I called and got no answer. I came to check on them and found them. It was devastating."
Suskind was a singer and composer, Ringdahl was a photographer.
Reports said a police investigation was underway to determine whether drugs or medications were involved.
According to recent findings by researchers, middle-aged white people in the United States have suffered a startling rise in death rates since 1999, most likely because of problems with legal and illegal drugs, alcohol and suicide.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US and each year 44,193 Americans die by suicide, statistics show.