The number of lives lost in the deadliest mass shooting in the United States has sadly increased by one.
Kim Gervais, who was left a quadriplegic after the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas in 2017, died on Friday, her sister tells KVVU-TV.
Gervais attended the country music festival with two of her friends, Dana Smith and Pati Mestas — who was one of the 58 people killed when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock sprayed bullets into the crowd of 22,000 people from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on October 1, 2017.
Gervais’ death Friday brings the total number of lives lost from the shooting to 59.
Dena Sarvela of Vancouver, Washington, Gervais’ sister, told KVVU-TV that her heart stopped on Friday from stress put on her body from her injuries.
Before that fateful day two years ago, Gervais spent her free time riding ATVs and going to concerts with her girlfriends, the New York Times reported in 2017. But after being struck in the back in the shooting, the grandmother was forced to spend her next two years in a wheelchair without the use of her legs and with extremely limited use of her arms.
“She hurt. Even though she was paralyzed from the neck up, she could feel all the pain,” Sarvela told KVVU-TV. “There was scrap metal still in her because he used exploding bullets.”
Sarvela added that the long and difficult process of her hospitalization and eventual arrival back home to her home in California caused her sister to lose her “zest for life.”
“It took almost a year before she was able to transport out to go back home to California, that was rough,” she told the outlet. “She lost her zest for life because of it, because of the shooting, because of her injuries that she sustained. It was hard to be that same person, that we all know and love.”
Before getting shot, Gervais was ready to retire, Sarvela said.
“Her and I spoke the night before she went to the concert,” she said. “She was going to sell the business, she was ready to just go abroad and enjoy life, like she should have, and it was snatched from her. She worked her life, and butt off for – just to go enjoy, you know, and she doesn’t get that, she doesn’t get that chance.”
Sarvela added that her sister is now with her husband, whom she lost in the early 2000s: “I also know she was missing her husband very, very much, and that’s what gives me hope – that she’s with him right now. Gives me a lot of hope, and I know they are.”
“She was my sister, my caregiver, you know, even though I do have a mother, she basically raised us, and she was amazing, and I thank her very much to this day for helping me be who I am. And I hope she’s proud, because she’s a big part of that.”
“She’ll never leave my heart, ever.”
KVVU-TV reported that there will be memorial services held for Gervais at her home in California as well as her childhood hometown of Kansas City. Sarvela and her brother are also planning to take their sister’s ashes on a road trip across the U.S., the outlet said.
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