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Ecuadorian woman who woke up during wake dies

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The moment Bella Montoya was found alive in her coffin

A 76-year-old woman who shocked her family when she woke up at a funeral home in Ecuador has died after spending a week in the intensive care, officials say.

Bella Montoya, a 76-year-old retired nurse, died on Friday afternoon while being treated in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Babahoyo, about 55 kilometers (34 miles) northeast of Guayaquil in central Ecuador.

Montoya was first hospitalized on June 9 while suffering from a possible stroke and cardiopulmonary arrest. She was declared dead after failing to respond to resuscitation.

Montoya was then brought to a funeral home, where a wake was held later that day.

“There were about 20 of us there,” her son, Gilberto Barbera, told AP last week. “After about five hours of the wake, the coffin started to make sounds. My mom was wrapped in sheets and hitting the coffin, and when we approached we could see that she was breathing heavily.”

The relatives called 911 and Montoya was rushed back to the hospital, where she remained in the intensive care unit until she died on Friday afternoon, exactly a week after she was wrongly declared dead.

Ecuador’s Health Ministry is investigating how the incident occurred.

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