Their hopes were raised and then dashed again when a family member rose from the dead - only to die a second time a few hours later.
Ms Tan Chai Jeik, 69, was pronounced dead by a doctor at 8am on Monday in Kuala Gula, Perak.
The family was preparing her body for the funeral when she opened her eyes and moved her lips, as if to say something, reported Harian Metro.
Her brother, Mr Tan Chai Soon, who is in his 50s, said: "After we bathed her, she was placed in the coffin at the front of our house around 1.30pm.
"One of our family members was saying prayers and one of her children was repeatedly calling out her name (when it happened)."
The incident was a shock to all who were present at the funeral, and some were even terrified. The family called the doctor who had certified her death that morning to check on Ms Tan.
The doctor was surprised to detect a faint heartbeat from Ms Tan. He declared her alive and ordered the family to take her to Taiping Hospital.
But by the time she reached the hospital, it was too late. She was pronounced dead again at 3.15pm.
"I am disappointed that the ambulance took nearly two hours to reach Kuala Gula and then to the hospital," said Mr Tan.
"The hospital declared (my sister) dead for the second time."
Ms Tan was a fisherwoman and was active in the community despite her age. She was well-loved by those in her area and was always willing to lend a helping hand.
"Our family is shocked by the incident," said Mr Tan.
Ms Tan was not suffering from any chronic illnesses, but had complained of back pain three days before her death.
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