By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities family is dealing with the loss of two brothers who died within just 10 days of each other.

Thirty-year-old Eric Kaupang died unexpectedly on Jan. 2 while on his way to work. His brother, 31-year-old Edwin Kaupang, died 10 days later from an undetected heart condition.

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From the time they were kids until the time they had kids of their own, the two weren’t just brothers — they were the best of friends.

“They were inseparable. When Eric was home we did everything together with them and their family,” said Eric Kaupang’s fiancé, Lindsey Perry.

The two were planning on getting married this year. In November, she gave birth to their daughter Evelyn.

“As she got bigger and stronger he definitely … I mean, he would have been a great dad,” said Perry.

Eric Kaupang travelled back and forth from Minnesota to Alaska where he worked on an oil rig. On Jan. 2, Perry became worried when Eric failed to answer her calls.

After filing a missing persons report, she got the news she feared. Eric Kaupang had been found dead in his hotel room, possibly the victim of a heart condition.

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“It was crazy. I didn’t want to believe it at first so I just waited the rest of the day to hear from someone and then they had called Edwin and confirmed it with Edwin,” said Perry.

Edwin Kaupang was also devastated. Two days later, he wrote on Facebook, “I lost my best friend, brother, and closest person to me and I am devastated and heartbroken.”

He credited his wife Kiley and their 3-year-old daughter Bella for keeping him strong. But the day after his brother’s funeral, Edwin Kaupang went to sleep and never woke up. An autopsy revealed an enlarged heart. But some say his heart may have also been broken.

“They were best friends. Edwin had a lot to live for, but I think his brother’s death added stress,” said Perry, who added she takes some comfort in knowing the brothers are together again.

What hurts the most is that Evelyn will never get a chance to know her father, she said.

“I grew up with my dad in my life and he was a huge support for me. And for her to not have that, to not know who he was, is really the hardest. Because he was such a loving guy and such a nice guy,” said Perry.

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Neither brother had life insurance, so a fund has been set up to help their families. A benefit will also be held on Feb. 8 at the Eagles Club in Bloomington.

John Lauritsen