Brooklyn-born mom who beat cancer twice was gunned down in Orlando club

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ORLANDO — Brenda Lee Marquez McCool had already fought the battle of her life — twice.

The 49-year-old mom of 11 was born in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and moved to California then later to Orlando, according to the NY Daily News. She had beaten two bouts of cancer — breast and bone — so it was especially devastating for friends and family when they learned she was killed in the Orlando nightclub shooting.

McCool went out dancing Saturday night at Pulse with one of her sons. He survived the shooting.

Another son, Farrell Marshall, said she often did this.

"She just went out last night and said goodbye to her children" said Marshall, who started a GoFundMe page seeking donations for the family. A few hours later family members got a call saying she'd been hit by two gunshots.

McCool's last post on her Facebook page is a video she put up a few hours before the shooting — people dancing the night away at Pulse, unaware of the horrors that await.

Family friend Wilson Cruz paid tribute to her on social media as a "fighter," noting the battles she had won over cancer and her advocacy for the LGBT community.

And wow, could she dance, they said.

"She was hilarious and loving and tore up the dance floor when salsa or anything was playing," he said. "I can't believe she's gone."

Katherine Lam contributed to this report. 

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