Texas couple on holiday in Fiji die from unidentified illness

Kenny Tucker
June 5, 2019

What started out as a once-in-a-lifetime vacation for one healthy couple from Texas became a nightmare beyond comprehension after the pair died while in Fiji last month from an unknown illness.

The residents of Fort Worth, Texas, died suddenly from an illness that still hasn't been identified, WFAA reports. "They knew something was going on in their [bodies]", Tracey Calanog, Michelle Paul's sister-in-law, told ABC. "They knew something was going on in their body and were able to get to the hospital", she says.

It's believed the couple from Fort Worth had been planning their "amazing vacation" to Fiji for quite some time, leaving behind their two-year-old son and a daughter from David Paul's previous relationship with family in the USA for the two week trip.

"Very physically fit", Calanog recalled to KVUE of Michelle, a former student-athlete, and David, an Air Force veteran, who were expected to return home from their trip just one day later.

Family members believe that David and Michelle may have contracted a deadly virus, as the Fiji government had issued warnings about a unsafe flu season in the region.

'Nobody is telling me what was the cause of the death and that's very hard for me, ' he said.

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Michelle was believed to have died first.

The deaths were confirmed by a US State Department official, who said in a statement that American authorities were "closely monitoring" the investigation.

The US Embassy in Fiji, who were contacted for comment by KVUE, didn't comment specifically on the couple's death, but said there has been warnings of a unsafe flu affecting the island nation. According to Fiji Broadcast Corporation, the embassy said it is not aware of any specific public-health threat to the community. "We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance".

When reached by phone, the U.S. Embassy in Fiji told KVUE that the local government had issued warnings of a risky flu season that was expected to hit the area.

The department is keeping an eye on the investigation by local authorities.

"They were planning an wonderful vacation", Calanog said. Her husband later lost his life as preparations were being made to medevac him to Australia.

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