Washington -

A Mississippi farmer, who made global headlines two weeks ago when he woke up in a body bag at a funeral home, died on Thursday aged 78, local media said.

Walter “Snowball” Williams passed away in the early hours, the Clarion-Ledger newspaper in the state capital Jackson reported.

“Well, they came and got him again around 4.15am,” said Williams' nephew Eddie Hester, quoted by Jackson television station WAPT. “I think he's gone this time.”

Williams, who entered a hospice in February because of congestive heart failure, was first pronounced dead on February 27 after nurses and a coroner detected no pulse.

He was transferred to a funeral home, only to start rustling inside a body bag - prompting duly astonished staff to summon an ambulance to take him back to his hospice bed.

Williams, a father of 11 with six great-grandchildren, said he had merely fallen into a deep sleep, but family members felt God had given him extra time for a reason.

“You'd be surprised how many people this has touched in more ways than we can ever put our hands on,” daughter Mary Williams told the Clarion-Ledger.

“This is a testimony that will live longer than we will.” - Sapa-AFP