To some, what Joyce Hope Suskind, 88, and Olaf Ringdahl, 86, did out of love is like something straight out of "Romeo and Juliet."
Determined to spend the rest of eternity together, the two killed themselves after Suskind fell ill, the New York Daily News reports.
"They always said they wanted to go together," said their tearful friend, Stephen Collins, who found their bodies in the apartment the lovers shared. "They always wanted to exit together. They had been saying that for years, at least 30 years."
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Still, it's likely their friends thought it was simply a romantic dream the two may have had -- a sweet nothing that Suskind, a Juilliard-trained singer and composer, and Ringdahl, a photographer, didn't actually mean.
Sadly, for Collins and other loved ones, they meant every word.
Collins says he recalls feeling concerned he hadn't heard from them.
"I was worried, because we speak every day," he said. "I called and got no answer. I came to check on them and found them. It was devastating."
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The childless couple began dating in 1958, married two years later, and were inseparable until the day of their deaths.
"They never separated after their first date," Collins said. "They had a very loving relationship. She'd say, I don't want to live without him."
The two acted as an inspiration to others while pursuing their individual creative careers in music and photography.
"When I asked what advice she would give, Joyce suggested finding some kind of balance in your life," recalls a former voice student, life coach Sharon Good, on her website, Good Life Coaching. "Find out who you are beyond the external pressures of family or society to be or do something, to have children. Examine your life, examine your choices. Discover what really drives you, rather than just doing what's expected of you."
After Suskind developed heart problems and other conditions, the couple decided to kill themselves.
"She was having some health problems for a long time," police said. "She was having muscle regeneration and circulation problems. She couldn't go out by herself anymore."