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South Carolina Dad Dies Moments After Father-Daughter Dance at Wedding

When mother-of-the-bride Jeni Buchanan took to Facebook on Sunday, September 4, it wasn’t to post wedding photos. It was to share that her husband of 22 years, Tim Buchanan, had suffered an apparent heart attack just minutes after dancing with their daughter Michele Howard at her Costa Rica nuptials.

“You never know when the last time will be the last time!” the South Carolina-based wedding photographer wrote to her friends and family. “Tim came into my life at a time when I was broken to the core and held me up and built me into a strong person. Over the years we raised four amazing children, cared for my little brothers when they needed us the most and had even the honor of a beautiful grandchild.”

Tim Buchanan Jeni
Tim Buchanan and Jeni Buchanan Courtesy Katie Donnelly Photography

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She continued: “He was the most beautiful soul I have ever known and I will never be the same without him.”

In the accompanying photo, Jeni and Tim, 54, are seen locked in a tender embrace.

“I am so very grateful for this image of us that our dear friends Kelly Rae Stewart and her husband snuck during our daughter’s wedding yesterday,” Jeni wrote. “Little did I know just a few hours later we would lose him.”

Tim’s eldest child, Ben Buchanan, tells Us Weekly he and his siblings talked to their dad every single day. “I could call him for any problem and he knew what to do,” says Ben. “He calmed us all down. He helped us through the hard times. He was the guy.”

“That is going to be the hardest thing, not being able to pick up the phone and call him.”

Tim Buchanan
Tim Buchanan York County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

Ben, 30, was not at the wedding as his wife is expecting a baby boy on Halloween and they are unable to travel. “From what I was told my dad was happy and proud to be in Costa Rica with everyone,” Ben tells Us. “He was so happy that he got to walk both of his daughters down the aisle. We don’t want people to think this was the saddest day in the world.”

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On Tuesday, September 6, Jeni shared on Facebook that she has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support.

“Family was the most important thing to him, to the point that he ignored his body telling him something was wrong,” she revealed. “He should have gone to the doctor, but he was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to attend our daughter’s wedding … If there is anything you can do for us, it is to take care of yourself and your loved ones. If we can save just one life with our tragedy, then he can be a hero one more time.

Tim was a detective in the investigations division in York County, South Carolina, per The Herald.

“All of our hearts are saddened about the loss of this great law enforcement officer,” Sheriff Bruce Bryant told the paper. “Tim dedicated almost 19 years to this profession as an outstanding deputy, forensics investigator and most recently detective in computer crimes. He talents will be sorely missed.”

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Family friend Jenn Lewis has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of funeral arrangements and other expenses.

“We want everyone to hug their dads and tell them you love them,” Ben tells Us, “because you never know what will happen.”

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