The Blended Bunch: The Tragic Death Of Erica Shemwell's First Husband

TLC's newest show The Blended Bunch centers on two widows, Spencer and Erica Shemwell, who find love after devastating loss. The kicker: they share a total of 11 children — all under the age of 13. "We're kind of like the modern-day Brady Bunch," Erica dishes during a teaser for the new series.

While the prospect of blending such a large family is no small task in itself, the couple also has to re-learn how to be married ... to someone other than the first person they pledged their vows to. As reported by TV Shows Ace, Spencer tragically lost not only his wife, Aimee, but also their unborn child in a fatal motor vehicle accident. Miraculously, he and the couple's other four children survived. During a sneak peek of the new series exclusively released to People, Spencer remembers the moment he told his children that their mom didn't make it. "I said, 'Mommy passed away,'" he tearfully explains. "I thought there was no way that I could ever love anyone like Aimee."

Luckily for Spencer, he met Erica, someone else who understands what it's like to lose a spouse. But unlike Spencer, Erica's late husband didn't die in a car accident. Keep reading to learn more about Tony Means' tragic death and how Erica also became a young widow and single parent.

Erica Shemwell's husband died of brain cancer

As reported by TV Shows Ace, Erica Shemwell's husband, Tony Means, died of brain cancer in 2016. 

It's reported that the couple, who first met in college at Brigham Young University, had been married for 10 years when he died. During their time together, however, the couple did welcome seven children: Landon, Emma, Lily, Sophie, Tanner, Amelia, and Caleb, whom Erica was pregnant with when Tony died.

"My husband, Tony, passed away from brain cancer three years ago — I feel like my heart was ripped out of my chest," Erica confesses during a sneak peek on the trailer for the series. As fate would have it, however, the single mother of seven would eventually meet Spencer Shemwell in an online widowers support group, per People. The couple tied the knot only 13 months later. 

On the show, this blended bunch has to navigate their combined families in the wake of their losses, which will no doubt be tricky with so many people in the house.