Report: Husband of woman who started accidental Thanksgiving tradition died while fighting COVID-19

A man who made national headlines following an accidental Thanksgiving dinner invite from a complete stranger says a member of the host family has died while fighting COVID-19.

Back in 2016, Jamal Hinton, then 17, received a random text from Wanda Dench, inviting him to Thanksgiving dinner. At the time, Hinton did not know Dench, and Dench had accidentally texted Hinton's number.

Instead of un-inviting Hinton, Dench still extended an invite to Hinton, thus starting an annual tradition that was still going strong as of 2019. Outside of Thanksgiving, Hinton and Dench kept in touch via texts regularly, and Hinton said he sees Dench about once every two months.


On Wednesday night, Hinton announced via his unverified Twitter page that Dench's husband, Lonnie, died on Sunday.

On April 1, Hinton announced that both Wanda and Lonnie tested positive for COVID-19 and that Lonnie was in the hospital fighting both COVID-19 and pneumonia.

Hinton and his girlfriend posted a video on YouTube on the same topic on April 3 but gave limited information out of respect for the Dench family. The two also declined media interviews.

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