The wife of a Massachusetts woman who filed a class-action lawsuit accusing Wal-Mart of wrongly denying employee benefits for same-sex spouses has died.

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders says Dee Smithson, of New Bedford, died Friday of ovarian cancer.

Smithson's wife, Jacqueline Cote, filed suit in July in U.S. District Court in Boston seeking damages for the couple and any other Wal-Mart employees whose same-sex spouses were denied medical insurance.

Cote says Wal-Mart repeatedly denied insurance for Smithson before 2014, when the retail giant started offering benefits for same-sex spouses.

The couple incurred at least $150,000 in medical costs after Smithson was diagnosed with cancer in 2012.

Cote and Smithson were married in 2004.

A spokeswoman for GLAD, which helped file the suit, says Smithson's death shouldn't affect the case.  (Associated Press)

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