Dalton Prager, whose love story with wife Katie Prager was compared with John Green’s Fault in Our Stars, died Saturday, September 17, at the age of 25, his parents told CNN.
Katie, 26, posted about his death on their joint Facebook page, writing, “My angel, my best friend, the love of my life, my husband went to be with the Lord our God today. Dalton fought a long hard battle with cystic fibrosis. He was a courageous fighter and ‘give up’ wasn’t in his vocabulary.”
According to CNN, Dalton passed away at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, hundreds of miles away from his wife, who also has cystic fibrosis and is in hospice in Flemingsburg, Kentucky. The couple spoke over FaceTime just before Dalton died.
“She told him that she loved him,” Katie’s mother, Debra Donovan, told CNN. “We don’t know if he heard her.”
CNN first profiled the two in April 2015, describing them as “a real Fault in Our Stars couple.” Like Hazel and Augustus, the characters in Green’s bestselling 2012 novel (later a movie with Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort), Katie and Dalton met as teens.
In the Pragers’ case, though, they communicated first online and fell in love over Facebook messages. Per CNN, doctors warned Katie not to meet other CF patients in person — and it was particularly dangerous for her to meet Dalton, as he had a rare, highly contagious infection called Burkholderia cepacia.
Ultimately, though, she decided Dalton was worth the risk. They married in 2011, when they were 20 years old.
In the years since, CNN reports, both have struggled medically. Still, Katie has no regrets. Of their marriage, she told CNN, “It gave me some of the best years of my life.”