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Man, married in Rockford hospital two weeks ago, has died

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A Rockford man who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and got married at Mercyhealth two weeks ago has died, a spokesman for the family said on Wednesday.

Rich Stebbins passed away overnight after a battle with lung cancer.

Stebbins, 50, was diagnosed with terminal cancer four weeks ago. He had intended to marry Dana Pizzolato, 46, in May. But, during a recent trip to the hospital, Stebbins suffered a cardiac attack and had to be resuscitated.

“I died,” said Stebbins, 50. “God kept me around for some reason. Someone was watching over me for sure.”

The pair got married on April 19th in the hospital chapel surrounded by family, friends and members of his medical team. The ICU staff put on a reception afterwards complete with a wedding cake, decorations and flowers.

“We should’ve gotten married months ago,” said Stebbins. “We love each other. We better do it or you never know.”

Stebbins worked at Bay Valley Foods in Pecatonica, which is flying their flags at half staff today in his memory.

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