She referred to him as "Eddy" and he often called her "Sissy." They struggled together as Poe did his best to make a living as a writer (at a time when it was nearly impossible to do so) and she faithfully followed him from Baltimore to Virginia to New York to Philadelphia back to New York as he sought work. It was in Philadelphia that Mrs. Poe first displayed symptoms of "consumption," today called tuberculosis. She died five years after that incident, in New York, on January 30, 1847. She was 24 years old (her corpse is pictured here).
Poe was devastated by her death, though he knew it was coming. Rumors today abound that Poe was so despondent after her death, that he turned to drinking and wrote macabre pieces about the death of beautiful women.
In fact, Poe's first macabre work was published before he ever even married Virginia. His treatise exploring his theory that "the death of a beautiful woman" was the "most poetical topic in the world" was written two years before her death as a companion piece to his most famous poem, "The Raven" — Virginia was very much alive and is not the "lost Lenore" in the poem.
Poe's drinking is legendary, particularly after his wife's death. However, as most legends, the stories are based only partly on fact then exaggerated to massive proportions. Many report that he turned to alcohol after the loss of his wife. In fact, it was after Virginia's death that Poe sought help for his drinking problem, culminating in his public vow of sobriety and membership in the Sons of Temperance (an anti-alcohol union) — in other words, after his wife's death, he stopped drinking. Romantically, he had since moved on and found at least two potential second wives.
Ultimately, few of Poe's works are directly related to his wife or her illness. The clearest example of a Poe work "inspired by a true story" is not the fictitious Lenore nor the equally fictitious "Annabel Lee" but the romantic short story "Eleonora" — a relatively obscure sketch written while Virginia was still relatively healthy.
A few hours after her death, Poe had someone make a watercolor image of her; it is pictured on this page. For a time, it was considered the only portrait of Virginia Clemm Poe taken from "life."