Tragedy as 24-year-old bride dies of diary allergy four days after proposal in South Africa

A young woman has died just four days after becoming engaged while on a romantic holiday in South Africa after stirring her tea with the wrong spoon.

Jess Prinsloo, 24, is said to have died of complications from her acute milk allergy, just days after her partner Craig McKinnon, also 24, died on March 27.

After saying yes, marketing director Jess, from Salisbury, Wiltshire, partied with her fiancé for several days before traveling to her mother’s home in Johannesburg on December 30.

But after coming into contact with dairy products, she went into anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction that causes her throat to close up, and died in hospital the following day, reports Der Spiegel.

Jess Prinsloo, from Salisbury, Wiltshire, died just four days after boyfriend James McKinnon proposed her a dream holiday in South Africa

Ms Prinsloo, 24, was pictured crying with joy after the proposal on December 27, 2022

Her friends and family have paid tribute to a “beautiful, fun-loving” young woman who “lighted up every room she walked in”.

In a heartbreaking post on social media, Mr McKinnon wrote: Finding clarity is difficult today, the worst day of my life.

“But one point I’ve never been clearer about, the 3+ years I’ve had with my Jess are irreplaceable and I wouldn’t trade them for anyone else in the world for 60 years.

“I’m devastated and in pain like I’ve never felt before, but anyone who has spent time in her company knows what I mean when I say I was blessed to call her my fiancee [for] the best three days of my life.’

The couple met in college in 2019 and moved in together in 2021.

Ms Prinsloo had many family members in South Africa but hadn’t returned in six years, Mr McKinnon said – so he knew there was no better place to apply.

He told the Mirror: “The look on her face… it meant everything.”

She was so excited about the proposal that she updated her followers on her social media accounts that same day to be inundated with messages from friends and family.

The next post on her Facebook page was the devastating news that she was in “critical condition” in hospital.

Despite her diligence in carrying two EpiPens after several “near misses”, both failed in their response to Ms. Prinsloo.

Mr McKinnon said: “When Jess died, a part of me died too – but there is no one to blame for her death.”

He described being woken up by her brother Darren and said she had a particularly bad reaction after the EpiPen “didn’t have the effect it normally has”.

She was taken to the hospital, but despite the best efforts of the doctors, they could not save her.

Ms Prinsloo has had an allergy since she was nine months old and even had to be resuscitated after being exposed to dairy in a curry when she was 18.

The couple spent four happy days celebrating their engagement before tragedy struck

Mr McKinnon proposed at a famous beauty spot called God’s Window, in the country his fiance hadn’t been to in six years

The couple met at university in 2019 and then moved in together after lockdown in 2021

Mr McKinnon told The Mirror: “Another time she ordered a vegan dessert that should have been non-dairy and she needed antihistamines, an EpiPen and a hospital stay. I haven’t eaten dairy in about three years because it just wasn’t worth the risk.”

After her death, he was billed £3,700 in medical bills and a further £1,200 in coroner’s fees.

Mr McKinnon and Ms Prinsloo’s family set up a GoFundMe to help cover medical and funeral expenses.

A statement on the page read: “Our beautiful, fun loving Jess recently passed away on 12/31/2022.

“Jess was an impeccable daughter, sister, niece, friend and most recently fiancé. She lit up every room she walked in and touched the lives of everyone she met.

“If you’ve ever met Jess, you probably know what she says about a fun fact about herself: she’s allergic to milk.

“While on the holiday of a lifetime in South Africa, she experienced an allergic reaction. While Jess was doing her best to get by in the hospital, she passed away peacefully late that night.

“All the years we’ve had, Jess will get us through the years we won’t.”

Mr McKinnon returned to the UK with her ashes on Monday. Tragedy as 24-year-old bride dies of diary allergy four days after proposal in South Africa

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