Her husband, Michael Schiavo, fought in state courts for years to have the feeding tube removed, saying Terri Schiavo had previously told him she would not want to be kept alive artificially. Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, disputed that.
The 41-year-old woman suffered severe brain damage in 1990 when her heart stopped beating because of a chemical imbalance brought on by an eating disorder.
The fight between the two sides continued Thursday morning when, according to Franciscan Brother Paul O’Donnell, an adviser to the Schindlers, said the parents and Schiavo’s two children “were denied access at the moment of her death. They’ve been requesting, as you know, for the last hour to try to be here and they were denied access by Michael Schiavo. They are in there now, praying at her bedside.”
The Schindlers’ lawyer, David Gibbs III, said that the family’s faith in God “remains strong.”
“God loves Terri more than they do. She is at peace,” Gibbs said.
While Michael Schiavo’s attorney, George Felos, announced Schiavo’s death he made no other comment.
Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube was removed March 18 with a judge’s approval. Schiavo’s parents argued that she could still get better and that she laughed, cried and responded to them.
The court battled waged on for seven years and involved Florida lawmakers, Congress and President Bush.
State and federal courts continued to side with her husband. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene six times.
After an emergency session in Congress, President Bush signed a bill March 21 that allowed federal judges to review the case.
“In extraordinary circumstances like this, it is wise to always err on the side of life,” President Bush said.
Schiavo met her husband at Bucks County Community College near Philadelphia in 1982. They married two years later. For Schiavo, however, her life-long battle with bulimia continued.
She collapsed at age 26, which is thought to have been brought on by a potassium imbalance caused by the eating disorder. Doctors estimate the brain-damaged woman was deprived of oxygen for 10 minutes.
Schiavo did not have a living will so Florida law left Michael Schiavo in charge of making the decisions for his wife’s health.