President Barack Obama called the families of Justin and Stephanie Shults, the American couple killed in the Brussels attacks last week, saying the couple “epitomized all that was good about America.”
The president offered his condolences on Easter Sunday, adding that “their tragic deaths have touched the hearts of all of us,” a White House official said in a statement.
Justin, 30, and his wife, Stephanie, 29, were dropping off her mom at the Brussels airport when the explosions went off, and they were missing for several days. The Shultses’ families and employers confirmed on Saturday, March 26, that both of them were among at least 31 people killed during the terrorist attacks.
The couple met during graduate school at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Stephanie’s job at Mars, Incorporated, brought the pair to Belgium in 2014, and Justin’s employer, Clarcor, created a position for him in Europe, according to The Tennessean. Justin was originally from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Stephanie was from Lexington, Kentucky. New York City–based siblings Alexander and Sascha Pinczowski were also among those killed in the deadly attacks.
“We found out today that cowards took my brother’s life just weeks after his 30th birthday,” Justin’s brother, Levi Sutton, wrote on Twitter. “I was blessed to have Justin as a big brother. He was smart and kind and generous. I never met a single person that didn’t like him. He worked hard his whole life and achieved goals that most could only dream about. He traveled the world leaving each destination better than when he arrived.”
The last thing my brother ever told me is that he loved me….Go rest high on that mountain. pic.twitter.com/7GErysffGy
— Popcorn Sutton (@PopcornSutton__) March 26, 2016
“Stephanie was always so happy. I really enjoyed any chance I got to be around her,” Sutton added. “The world lost two amazing people today. It’s not fair.”
ISIS later claimed responsibility for the three homemade bombs that went off across Brussels on Tuesday, March 22.
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!