Bride-to-be, 47, dies of flu one week after diagnosis

A mother-of-two died of the flu at 47 on Wednesday, a week after she was diagnosed, and mere months before her wedding date.

Katherine Acton, a real estate agent from Alabama, died less than 24 hours after describing her fear as she became weak, nauseous and ‘in so much pain all over’ to her personal trainer. 

Daily Mail Online spoke to her trainer, Brii Walker, who said Acton had been in good health, working out regularly, and was discussing a fall wedding with her boyfriend, Chuck Binzel. At least 44 people have died in Alabama, as this year’s highly treatment-resistant and aggressive flu surpasses epidemic proportions in the US.

Katherine Acton (right) had plans to marry her boyfriend, Chuck Binzel (left), before she passed away suddenly of the flu on Wednesday 

Acton’s friends all describe her the same way: beautiful inside and out. 

She was the picture of health, and had ‘the body of a fitness model,’ her personal trainer, Brii Walker, whom she worked out with two to three times a week, told Daily Mail Online.

Acton and her boyfriend, Binzel, had recently moved in together, and the two were discussing a fall wedding. 

‘She always talked about Chuck. She was happy…he was “her person” as she would say. She loved him and her boys,’ Eason Abraham, 21, and GT Abraham, 19,’ so much, Walker says.

It was Binzel that found Acton at their home on Wednesday.  

‘You can’t describe the loss, the hole that you feel, the utter lack of direction,’ Binzel said.

Only a week before, Acton had texted Walker to tell her she didn’t think she wasn’t feeling well, then again later to say she’d been diagnosed with the flu and would have to miss her training session that week. 

On Tuesday, Walker got this message from Acton:

‘I went back to the doctor this morning. Started feeling worse again last night. I don’t know when I’ll be back in to the gym I know it probably won’t be this week. I am so weak and in so much pain all over and now I’ve started vomiting. Please say a prayer for me I got very scared this morning when I got back home I was so dizzy. This stuff is horrible.’ 

On Wednesday, Walker’s other clients and close friends to Acton and Binzel, Donna and Jason Mann, told her that Acton had died. 

Acton was a successful real estate agent in Alabama

Acton was a successful real estate agent in Alabama

Acton left behind her two sons, Eason (left), 21, and GT (right), 19 

Acton left behind her two sons, Eason (left), 21, and GT (right), 19 

Every year, the flu kills between 3,300 and 49,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

More than 70 percent of those deaths occur among people over 65.

The CDC says it will not speculate as to adult death rates so far, but confirmed that 37 children have now died of the flu this season and expect another 100 to be killed.

The combination of this year’s particularly vicious H3N2 strain and relatively ineffective flu shot – thought be 34 percent preventative – has proven deadly for children and healthy adults who might not have thought they were vulnerable.

This year’s epidemic came early to the US, beginning in October. Flu-related deaths accounted for more than nine percent of the total national mortality rate in the past week. 

The CDC told Daily Mail Online last week that they hoped we might be past the worst of the season, but the death toll has continued to climb, and include unexpected victims like Acton.

Acton left behind two sons, Eason and GT Abraham, as well as Binzel and a close group of friends that she frequently travelled with.

‘We keep waking up and hoping tomorrow it won’t be real,’ her close friend Donna Mann told ABC 33/40.

Acton had the 'body of a fitness model,' her trainer says

She and Chuck traveled together frequently

Acton had ‘the body of a fitness model’ her trainer says, and loved to travel with Chuck

Acton’s friend and personal trainer, Brii Walker called her ‘the image of perfection. When She walked in the room, jaws dropped,’ she said in an interview with the local news station.

Donna’s husband, Jason Mann, posted Katherine’s story to Facebook, warning ‘People TAKE THIS SERIOUS.’ In another post, he added: ‘The flu does not discriminate about age or health.’

In Shelby County, where Acton lived, eight people have died after developing flu-related symptoms this season.

Of those, four, including Acton, were young and ‘otherwise health and simply diagnosed with flu,’ Shelby County Coroner Lina Evans said in a statement.

According to Evans’ description, the declines of the four victims followed the same pattern.

‘Unfortunately, several days later they developed pneumonia and their doctor prescribed antibiotics. After starting the antibiotic, they were still complaining of not feeling well and died the following day,’ she said.

This year, the US has seen the greatest number of flu-like illnesses since 2010.

If the flu virus moves into the lungs, it can cause pneumonia, a potentially fatal lung infection

Evans advised: ‘if you have started antibiotics for pneumonia, and still have a temperature and/or you are not feeling better, go back to see your doctor! Don’t delay the visit!’