Middle TN pastor dies from complications of flu - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Middle TN pastor dies from complications of flu

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SMITHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Flu season continues in Middle Tennessee, and the latest victim is a 55-year-old pastor from DeKalb County.

The Rev. Matt Long's family said he was a loving husband, father and grandfather who meant so much to so many.

"He was the most loved and wonderful man I ever had the pleasure of meeting," said brother-in-law Dean Montgomery.

Long was the pastor for three churches in Smith and DeKalb counties.

"I would say there was well over 1,000 people that came through yesterday. He was loved by people all over the state," Montgomery said.

Long died Saturday from flu complications after he was sick for only a few days.

He had previously received the flu shot, but his family said he was also diabetic, which caused other health problems when he first became ill on Thursday.

"That afternoon, his blood sugar started to spike, and they were unable to get it down. So they took him to the Smith County General Hospital," Montgomery said.

From there, his family said, he flat-lined three times. By Friday night, Long was being flown by medical helicopter to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he died the next day in a diabetic coma.

"The flu just started a chain reaction for other health problems," Montgomery said.

Long's family said they are glad they are all vaccinated and believe this is a lesson to never take health for granted.

"We are Christians, and I think God said, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant,' and he opened his arms and brought him home," said wife Angela Long.

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