Aschoff died on December 24 with a diagnosis of multifocal pneumonia and a rare disease known as hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).
Aschoff and others expressed surprise at the severity of their illness, given their age and apparent good health.
His fiance, Katy Berteau, revealed Wednesday that – although they did not know until lung biopsy after her death – Aschoff had stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in her lungs.
"Both pneumonia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma can trigger HLH in the body and this was apparently what happened to Edward. All of this combined was what led to his very rapid decline in the last few days and ultimately to his death," he said. Berteau.
Berteau said he shared the information to help the public understand and prosecute his loss.
"I also wanted to provide this update because he would like everyone to know that something much bigger than pneumonia knocked him out," she said.
His illness kept getting worse
Aschoff went to the emergency room after a December 1 flight for what he said was a virus that "turned into this monster." He started antibiotics the next day.
December 4 and 5, he tweeted about having pneumonia.
Antibiotics didn't work and it got worse, Berteau tweeted earlier, and he started many tests, including those that examined his bone marrow and biopsies of his lungs.
Doctors began treating him for a presumed diagnosis of HLH. He died three days after being transferred to intensive care.
What is HLH?
HLH is a rare disease that affects the immune system, causing certain white blood cells to attack other blood cells and enlarging the spleen and liver, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
It can be inherited or acquired, said Johns Hopkins. About a quarter of cases are transmitted to families, and the remainder come from infections, a weakened immune system and cancer.
Symptoms may include cough, shortness of breath, fever, headaches, rash, swollen lymph nodes, jaundice and digestive problems, according to Johns Hopkins.
What is non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
Berteau described Aschoff's cancer as "an aggressive type of cancer that is usually undetectable until it is very advanced."
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer that forms in the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system that helps the body fight infection and disease, according to National Cancer Institute.
The disease may be indolent, which spreads slowly with few signs and symptoms, or aggressive, which spreads rapidly with severe symptoms, the institute said.
Signs and symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, fever, weight loss, rash, and pain in the chest, abdomen, or bones, according to the institute.
CNN's Rebekah Riess, Amir Vera and Kevin Dotson contributed to this report.
. (tagsToTranslate) us (t) ESPN Reporter's Bride Edward Aschoff Says Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Contributed to Her Death – CNN