Burlingame woman says eviction battle killed elderly roommate

BURLINGAME, Calif. (KGO) -- Last week we introduced you to a 97-year-old Burlingame renter who was being evicted, even though her original landlord promised her she could stay in that property forever. Then Thursday night, Marie Hatch was rushed to the hospital where she died. Her friends say the eviction threat is what killed her.

Marie Hatch's friend and roommate of some 30 years, Georgia Rothrock, tells ABC7 News that Hatch was terribly anxious and fearful of being evicted. She had been trying to calm her friend down all week.

Sadly Rothrock came home from dinner late Thursday afternoon and saw Hatch on the floor of her bedroom while the paramedics worked on her.

"Marie Hatch died of a broken heart from a broken promise," said Hatch's lawyer. She sums up what a lot of people think -- that the eviction order hastened her death.

Her longtime roommate Rothrock believes that.

RELATED: 97-year-old Burlingame woman facing eviction dies

"She's lived here for 60 years and she's 97 years old," she said. "It's not reasonable. It's not kind. It's not compassionate."

The promise was made by her former landlady, her good friend. Hatch told us just last week what that promise was.

"She said, 'Marie, this is your home. You can live here as long as you want to,'" said Hatch in a Feb. 22 interview with ABC7 News.

The promise was made some 60 years ago. Hatch has been paying rent all along, only $900 a month for a cottage in upscale Burlingame. The estimated value of the property is $1.2 million.

When her landlady died, her children kept the promise. But they too eventually passed.

RELATED: Burlingame seniors being evicted by new landlord

Her new landlord is the husband of a granddaughter who also died.

Last month, Hatch received a 60 day notice to leave. She was rushed to the emergency room with breathing problems. Then last week, the eviction story went viral. When we met her, she seemed emotionally drained.

"I don't know," she told us. "I don't have the slightest idea where I'm going to go. That's why I don't sleep at night."

Rothrock told us all this changed her. She kept a neat house, she still liked to cook, liked to work in her garden. But the eviction threat took too much out of her.

"This impending displacement I think really just knocked the pins from under her," she said.

On Thursday Hatch was rushed to the hospital with respiratory problems. The official cause of death will come.

But many will still believe it was because of a broken heart.
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