Kentucky Grandmother Who Went Viral During Catastrophic Floods Has Passed Away

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: LEANDRO LOZADA / Contributor

A Kentucky family is grieving after their beloved grandmother passed away at 97. Their grandmother was rescued from her home thanks to a viral photo showing her sitting on her bed in waist-deep water. The photo was taken during the disastrous flooding that hit the state in July. 

According to reports from her relatives, Mae Amburgey passed away on Oct. 8 in her sleep at her son’s home in Chelsea, Alabama. She had been staying with her son since she could not return to her flood-damaged house in Whitesburg, Kentucky.

“I believe she died of a broken heart,” the woman’s granddaughter Missy Amburgey Crovetti mournfully told news outlets. “I think if it hadn’t been for the flood, if she hadn’t suffered that trauma, I think she would have still been with us.”

In an update on a GoFundMe page, Amburgey Crovetti wrote that she had initially launched the fundraising page to help fix her grandmother’s home. She added that her grandmother “put up one heck of a fight” since she was rescued from her flooded home. 

“While our hearts are completely broken we are also relieved that she is no longer in pain,” she added. “The last few days she had been praying for the Lord to bring her home. She is home now.” 

She continued: “She was an incredible force who brought love, light, and kindness to everyone she met.”

Amburgey Crovetti told outlets that her grandmother was not fully aware of her massive fame. That fame arose after a photo of her inside her flooded home went viral on the internet. The granddaughter said that at the time, her Grandma Mae attempted to call for help, but no one answered her calls. As a result, Amburgey Crovetti posted the photo on Facebook out of sheer desperation. 

Kentucky Flood: Mae Amburgey never made it back to her beloved home

Almost immediately, the image went viral. As a result, Amburgey and her son Larry were rescued from the floodwaters that ravaged eastern Kentucky. 

Afterward, medical officials took the 97-year-old to a nearby hospital, and doctors later diagnosed her with pneumonia. Sadly, her son Larry inhaled water, and doctors put him on a ventilator.

Later, doctors ultimately discharged Amburgey and sent her to a nursing home in the area to continue her recovery. However, she could not move back into her cherished home, which officials have since deemed unlivable.

Last week, Kentucky Governor said in a press conference that the official death toll from the devastating floods in Kentucky had now reached 43. 

“Let us pray for those families and all of eastern Kentucky as we continue to try to stabilize the region and ultimately turn toward rebuilding,” Beshear said during a news conference.