Navy Veteran Passes Away After Ignoring Chest Pains to Give His Family Perfect Visit to Magic Kingdom, Here’s How You Can Help His Children

Brit Tuttle

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Close-up of a castle with blue conical roofs and a clock on its facade. An ornate lantern is visible in the foreground.

Navy Veteran Passes Away After Ignoring Chest Pains to Give His Family Perfect Visit to Magic Kingdom, Here’s How You Can Help His Children

Chad Bechhold, 41, who had recently retired from the military and was expecting a new baby, was on a Walt Disney World vacation with his family when he began to feel bad chest pains on St. Patrick’s Day.

The sudden pain got worse the closer he got to the Magic Kingdom.

Veteran Passes Away After Perfect Visit to Magic Kingdom

The Transportation and Ticket Center, just outside of Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

The man from Gulfport, Mississippi, needed just a minute to sit down before getting to the monorail. Bechhold was focused on making sure his family had a good day at the theme park. His pregnant wife also did not suspect he was seriously ill because he had seemed healthy before on their trip. Everything happened so quickly, his wife said, as Bechhold collapsed at the Transportation and Ticket Center and was later pronounced dead at the Celebration hospital.

“My husband was an incredible man. He loved God, his kids, and his wife so much. We have another daughter due at the end of June, and I’m just still so sad and in shock that he won’t be here,” his wife, Cynthia Bechhold, wrote in an email.

She said she hasn’t gotten answers to why her husband died. 

His cause and manner of death is currently pending, the Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Monday.

Bechhold’s family members had a history of having heart attacks in their 40s, according to the recently released Orange County Sheriff’s incident report.

To help the Bechhold family, here is the baby registry.

He was a man of service, his wife said.

Six weeks before his death, Bechhold retired from a 21-year career with the U.S. Navy.

“He worked as a Logistic Specialist stationed in Italy, Mayport, Florida; Gulfport, Mississippi; Norfolk, Virginia; and again in Gulfport, and with deployments to Spain, Japan, and Afghanistan and on two aircraft carriers — the USS Kennedy CVN 79 and the USS Truman CVN 75,” his wife said in an email. “He advanced to a Navy Chief in 2016, and he often mentored sailors who were struggling with substance abuse and/or mental health issues. He lost his biological father to suicide and helping people who struggled with depression was very important to him.”

March 17 was the family’s second day of vacation.

Spaceship Earth and EPCOT fountain

The day before, they celebrated his wife’s birthday at EPCOT and their toddler ate breakfast with Disney princesses at a character dining to treat her before the new baby arrived. That evening, the family walked around the World Showcase.

“It was a really beautiful day,” his wife said.

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