The inspiration for the blockbuster movie, Fault in Our Stars, Katie and Dalton Prager have had far more than their share of sorrow and suffering. The real-life Fault in Our Stars couple faced severe illness together, and when Dalton Prager died yesterday, they were both only in their mid twenties.
Dalton was 25, and Katie only 26 years old when he passed away at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, far away from his young wife. CNN reported that “Katie was in hospice in Flemingsburg, Kentucky, when her husband passed away.”
“She told him that she loved him. We don’t know if he heard her. Dalton fought a long hard battle with cystic fibrosis.”
After enduring separations lasting months at a time since they first met and fell in love, the Fault in Our Stars couple could not be together at the end when Dalton passed.
I don't understand how The Fault In Our Stars can be so sad, yet so utterly, wonderfully, unimaginably perfect
— Katie Byers (@katiebyers394) September 18, 2016
Technology allowed them to have some sense of closeness, as the “couple FaceTimed as Dalton was dying.” Katie’s mother described the last few minutes of Dalton’s life, and Katie’s attempt to reach her husband via FaceTime.
This is heartbreaking for our community as I'm sure it is for Katie. Great people who never got a fair shake at life https://t.co/xsv57maIT5
— Sean Ross Sapp (@SeanRossSapp) September 19, 2016
Us Magazine reported on the tragic circumstances of their life together and their marriage that was cut short so early. Dalton, who Extra reports was played by upcoming star Ansel Elgort in the Fault in Our Stars movie, and his wife both had Cystic Fibrosis.
They had stars in their eyes, but knew right away that their romance was doomed. The average life expectancy for a person with Cystic Fibrosis is only 37, but for the Pragers, the situation was even more difficult.
“Dalton had Burkholderia cepacia, a highly contagious infection for people with cystic fibrosis. Katie didn’t.”
The couple were only 18 when they met and fell in love “as they communicated on Facebook.” They were desperate to meet, but were also completely aware of how dangerous that meeting would be for Katie.
The only safe way for Katie to live was to avoid other CF patients since there was such a high risk that one of them would have the same condition that Dalton had. The contagious bacteria would almost certainly infect Katie, and there would be no recovery for her if that happened. But Katie believed in love, and was determined to take the risk and the fault if the worst happened.
“I told Dalton I’d rather be happy — like really, really happy — for five years of my life and die sooner than be mediocre happy and live for 20 years. That was definitely something I had to think about, but when you have those feelings, you just know.”
They got married two years after that first meeting, when they were 20 years old, and The doctors’ worst fears came true. The Pragers didn’t find fault with anyone when Katie contracted the infection, even though the new illness meant that both Katie and Dalton needed transplants to stay alive.
Dalton received his in November 2014, and Katie finally also underwent the same surgery in July 2015. Their families were filled with hope, but the stars were not aligned, and good news soon turned bad.
Dalton developed lymphoma and although he recovered from that struggle, his health continued to deteriorate. Prager “was recently hospitalized with pneumonia and a viral infection,” and was on a ventilator when he died.
Real-life ‘Fault In Our Stars’ couple: husband dies as wife sends him love via FaceTime https://t.co/OjwtQnke3g
— HollywoodLife (@HollywoodLife) September 19, 2016
Katie never fully recovered from the transplant, and is now awaiting death in the hospice.
“She was in and out of the hospital, and earlier this month doctors told her there was nothing more they could do.”
The Fault in Our Stars couple had hoped that they would be able to see each other one more time, and planned to have medical transport provide Dalton with a way to visit katie in Kentucky, but that wasn’t to be. The star crossed lovers saw each other for the last time on July 16, the fifth anniversary of their wedding.
— Taylor_NY (@NYPolJunkie) September 19, 2016
Katie expressed her love for her own star, Dalton, in a Facebook post after her husband died.
“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.”
[Featured Image by Alexandra Wyman/Invision/Associated Press]