"We miss you and will keep you close in our hearts always," Natalie Morales captioned a family photo on Instagram

By Jen Juneau
January 04, 2021 09:06 AM
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Natalie Morales and family

Natalie Morales is mourning the "sudden" loss of her husband Joe Rhodes' father, also named Joe Rhodes.

In a message posted to Instagram Saturday alongside a family photo featuring Morales, her husband and their two sons, the Dateline journalist wrote, "It has been a sad start to the new year with the sudden passing of one of the most amazing people I knew, my father-in-law Joe Rhodes."

"He was a wonderful father and grandpa," continued Morales, 48. "He loved and cared for his wife Kay for more then 52 years and as she battled Alzheimer's. He taught us so much about love, character and devotion. We miss you and will keep you close in our hearts always."

According to an obituary, the senior Rhodes was 79 years old, and had retired from his Chicago-based position as managing director with the Prudential Insurance Company in 1996 to care for his wife Kay "with extreme dedication until her passing" in 2014.

"In light of the current Covid-19 environment, a service will be planned in Littleton [Colorado], likely in the summertime," the obituary concludes. "In lieu of flowers, Memorial donations may be made to the Colorado chapter of the Alzheimer's Association at the following memorial page http://act.alz.org/goto/Joe_Rhodes."

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Natalie Morales' Instagram comments
| Credit: natalie morales/ instagram
Natalie Morales' Instagram comments
| Credit: natalie morales/ instagram

Morales received a slew of support from her  Today show colleagues in the comments section. Wrote Hoda Kotb, alongside two heart emojis, "So sorry natmo."

Joy Bauer said, "Natalie, I'm so sad and sorry for your loss. I'm sending lots of love to all of you💔."

"Sending you love 💕 xoxo," chimed in Bobbie Thomas (who revealed the tragic loss of her husband, Michael Marion, last month), while Sheinelle Jones left a simple red heart emoji.

Savannah Guthrie  added, "Dearest Nat, Sending all my love to you, Joe and the boys."

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Morales opened up to ALZ Magazine in summer 2019 about Kay's condition and how her father-in-law served as her primary caregiver from the time she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in her mid-50s until her death 17 years later.

"When my father-in-law first embarked on his long caregiving journey, he didn't know what the future would look like," she shared. "The Alzheimer's Association was the first one at his side, giving him information, lending an ear and providing support."

Even so, "Alzheimer's is especially difficult for caregivers," Morales said. "My father-in-law started having heart problems and a lot of other health issues because of the stress of taking care of my mother-in-law."

"As a caregiver, you need people. It's a disease that we cannot face on our own — don't be afraid to ask for help. You need the assistance and love of everybody around you," she added.