An elderly American couple who spent half a century together died six minutes apart and holding hands after catching the coronavirus.

The soul mates clang on to one another to the very end as they succumbed to the virus in a Mississippi hospital on Wednesday.

(Image: Riemann Family Funeral Homes)

Jerry and Frances Williamson, both 72, had fallen ill after taking a dream cruise ship holiday, according to Fox News.

They were said to have had eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

“Their faith was central to their lives,” Rick Clark, a pastor at the North Long Beach Baptist Church the couple belonged to, told the broadcaster.

The pastor said the couple had both tested positive for Covid-19 following a cruise.

It was not reported which cruise the couple had taken, or where they had travelled to.

The pair were put on ventilators at Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, but tragically neither of them could be saved.