UPDATED 4/9, 1:05 a.m. ET: Jamal Hinton took to social media to give some unfortunate news: Lonnie Dench has died after contracting COVID-19.
As some of you may have already found out tonight Lonnie did not make it... he passed away Sunday morning😔 but Wanda told me all the love and support he was receiving put a huge smile on his face so I thank every single one of you guys for that!🙏🏽❤️ https://t.co/tNvals0FMh— Jamal Hinton (@kingjamal08) April 9, 2020
See original story below.
The grandmother who went viral a few years back for a text message that ultimately resulted in a total stranger being invited to her family's annual Thanksgiving throwdown is now said to be among those battling COVID-19.
The Daily Dot points out that Wanda Dench and her husband Lonnie were said by Jamal Hinton, the stranger at the center of the 2016 text mishap that resulted in a new annual tradition for all involved, to have contracted the novel coronavirus.
"I am so sad to announce that Wanda and Lonnie both have COVID-19 and that Lonnie is currently in the hospital fighting both COVID and Pneumonia," Hinton said in a tweeted update earlier this week. "Please send words of love and encouragement their way."
Early Friday, Hinton said he planned on providing additional updates this weekend:
In 2019, Hinton shared his fourth Thanksgiving in a row with Wanda and Lonnie, telling Time in an interview that what was initially a “kind of weird” misunderstanding has now grown into a holiday routine he looks forward to each year.
"We just sit at the table for a couple of hours and talk the whole time and tell stories and see how we've been," Hinton said. "Time kind of just flies, we don't even realize how long we've been there. They're really good company."
Below, revisit the text conversation that started it all: