Idaho Nurse Who Fell into Vaccine 'Misinformation' Dies of COVID, Leaving Behind 10-Year-Old Twins

"Her heart just let go," says Natalie Rise's brother, who is currently raising her twins while their 71-year-old grandmother recovers from COVID-19

natalie rise
Natalie Rise. Photo: Go Fund Me

An Idaho nurse who fell deep into 'misinformation' about the COVID-19 vaccines died of the virus at age 46, her brother said.

Natalie Rise was a mom to 10-year-old twins and a registered nurse who did home health care for the elderly. Her mom Nancy was the first to get sick — on Aug. 10, the 71-year-old went to the hospital after dealing with COVID-19 symptoms for a week, and was intubated and put in a medically induced coma.

A few days later, Natalie started feeling sick and ended up in the same hospital, just a few rooms down from her mom.

"I was in shock," her brother, Daryl, said of getting the call that they were both in the hospital. "I didn't know what's going to happen or what was going to happen with them and who was going to take care of the children," he told KXLY News.

While in the hospital, Natalie was still against the vaccine.

"She was telling me not to get vaccinated," Daryl told CNN. "I think it was from misinformation, I think it was from falling into negative social media and bloggers, YouTubers."

On Aug. 22, Natalie was getting intubated when "her heart just let go," Daryl said. Doctors performed CPR for 45 minutes, but she died that day with her mom still in a coma down the hall.

"I was destroyed. I didn't know what was going to happen with these two beautiful children," Daryl said.

Doctors woke up Nancy soon after, and Daryl had to tell her that her daughter had died.

"Mom didn't even know that Natalie was in the hospital, and Natalie had written a letter the night before, to mom hoping she'd be able to go down in the critical care COVID unit to be able to see her, but that never happened," he told KXLY.

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Daryl has since stepped back from his job as a truck driver to take care of Natalie's twins, who have Joubert syndrome, a developmental disorder. Nancy will take over their care once she's out of the hospital. A GoFundMe has been started to raise money for the family.

"They're looking at the positive side of things. They do honestly believe Natalie is in heaven and got to have dinner with Jesus, and she's up there with our grandpa and looking over us all the time," he said.

Seeing his sister and mom in the hospital convinced Daryl to get vaccinated, which he had put off after having COVID-19 last year and thinking he was protected. But the day after Natalie's death, he got his first dose. Nancy is still resistant, he said, but is "looking toward it."

Daryl is now urging others to listen to the experts and get vaccinated.

"We're hearing from all these doctors and professionals who have all this education and they're basically begging us to get the vaccination. The people that are telling us not to, they're not as educated as these doctors, and they're following social media. It doesn't matter if we're a donkey or an elephant. It is a personal choice, but the numbers don't lie," he said.

"I think things would've turned out differently with Natalie and mom had they been vaccinated."

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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