NEW YORK — Erica Garner, the eldest daughter of Black Lives Matter icon Eric Garner, has died after suffering a heart attack, a family member told PIX11 News Saturday. She was 27.
Garner became a voice against police brutality following her fathers death in 2014. Eric Garner died after a police officer subdued him with a chokehold. His last words were “I can’t breathe,” which became a slogan for activists.
Since her hospitalization, Erica Garner’s verified Twitter account has been sharing updates on her condition.
On Saturday morning, a message posted to the account said, “She passed away this morning. The reports are real. We didn’t deserve her.”
The following tweet read:
“When you report this you remember she was human: mother, daughter, sister, aunt. Her heart was bigger than the world. It really really was. She cared when most people wouldn’t have. She was good. She only pursued right, no matter what. No one gave her justice.”
Rev. Al Sharpton, who has worked closely with the Garner family since 2014, relayed the news of Erica Garner’s death to a gathering of the National Action League.
“She was a warrior to the end and she stood up for justice. The media will say that she died of a heart attack, but that’s only partially true because her heart was already broken when she couldn’t get justice for her father,” he said.
Multiple organizations released statements about her death, shining light on her passion and courage:
“Our hearts ache with the passing of Erica Garner – whose activism in the wake of her father’s killing put a greater spotlight on police brutality and the need for sweeping criminal justice reforms. We extend our deepest condolences to her family at this difficult time and hope justice one day soon will be secured for the Garners and all others reeling from the loss of a loved one killed by the police,” said Tina Luongo of the Legal Aid Society in a statement.
“Erica Garner showed incredible courage and remarkable resolve in her quest to end police brutality and to hold police officers accountable for their actions. She bravely transformed her unspeakable personal pain in political power as she became a leader in the fight for police reform. We are sad to lose a champion of justice, but we know that the people she inspired with her fearlessness and tenacity will continue the fight, so that what happened to her father and her family may never happen again. Our thoughts are with Gwenn Carr and the rest of Erica’s family, who once again must endure the loss of a loved one who died much too young,” New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a statement.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has been criticized by Garner for the lack of “progress” the city has made in relations between the community and police, tweeted his condolences to the Garner family, calling her death “a horrible tragedy.”
Erica Garner suffered a heart attack and had been hospitalized since the day before Christmas Eve.
Her mother, Esaw Snipes-Garner, said at the time that her daughter’s cardiac arrest was triggered by an asthma attack and she was in a coma.
Snipes-Garner said her daughter suffered her first heart attack not long after giving birth to a baby boy in August.
Doctors said the pregnancy had put a strain on her heart, which was later found to be enlarged.
In 2016, Garner spoke to PIX11 News, blasting Hillary Clinton’s campaign after WikiLeaks revealed emails that talked of “using” her father’s death.
Associated Press contributed to this report.