Just an hour after hosting President Obama for breakfast, the owner of an Akron, Ohio, diner is dead.
Seventy year-old Josephine “Ann” Harris (in the floral print shirt, above) went into cardiac arrest shortly after meeting the president for the first time, the Summit County Medical Examiner’s office told ABC News.
President Obama learned later of Harris’ death while in Pittsburgh, Pa., and called Wilma Parsons, Ann’s daughter, from aboard Air Force One to express his condolences, said White House press secretary Jay Carney.
“Very sad event; he was honored to meet her this morning and passed on his feelings that the whole family is in his thoughts and prayers today,” Carney said.
Harris was not at the restaurant when Obama arrived but came later with family members while he was there, Carney said.
Immediately after meeting Obama and taking a photo, Harris recounted to the Akron Beacon Journal that the president had held her hand and “said his grandmother’s name was Ann.” (She presumably misunderstood the president since ‘Ann’ is the name of his mother, not his grandmother.)
Obama enjoyed a breakfast of eggs, bacon and whole wheat toast at Ann’s Place. He also dined with three tire company workers, according to the Obama campaign.
Medical examiner spokesman Jason Grom told ABC News that Harris went home after the restaurant meeting with Obama when she experienced “distress” and called 911. She then “went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance en route the hospital” and later died of “natural causes,” tGrom said.
She had a “whole host of medical problems,” he said.
“I’m sure this was her highlight,” Frankie Adkins, Harris’ sister, who lives in Tulsa, Okla., told the Akron Beacon Journal. “She loved Obama.”
This post has been updated.