Tuesday, March 07, 2006

This is just so sad.....

Dana Reeve 1961-2006

Tuesday, March 7, 2006; Posted: 10:48 a.m. EST (15:48 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Dana Reeve, the widow of the late actor Christopher Reeve, has died from lung cancer March 6,2006, at age 44, according to a statement from the Christopher Reeve Foundation.

She revealed she had the disease in August, less than a year after her husband's death. A lifelong nonsmoker, Dana Reeve died Monday night.

She was the chairwoman of the foundation, which funds research for new treatments for spinal cord injuries and works to improve the quality of life for people suffering from paralysis.

Her husband died in October 2004 at age 52 after falling into a coma. He had been paralyzed since a horseback riding accident in 1995.

Reeve was admired for the support and love she showed for her husband and for her assistance in his care.

Fellow board member Kate Michelman remembered her as "a great spirit."
"The country suffers because Dana, on a personal level, was one of the most remarkable people I've ever known," Michelman said.

She said Reeve's health had seemed to improve, giving friends and loved ones hope that she might recover from the cancer.

"She was improving. You know her own spirit and her own determination to overcome this plague made us feel she could do it," Michelman said.

"She just recently learned that she was failing and right up [till] the end, I have to tell you, Dana was convinced she was going to overcome this."

Michelman said Reeve's death is "a dreadful loss" but that the foundation will "move forward with Christopher and Dana's vision."

A statement from foundation President Kathy Lewis expressed the "deepest condolences and sympathy" to Reeve's family.

"Along with her husband, Christopher, she faced adversity with grace and determination, bringing hope to millions around the world," Lewis said in the statement.

Dana and Christopher Reeve married in 1992 after a five-year relationship.

The actor was famous for his role as Superman in a trilogy of movies in the late 1970s and 1980s. He continued to act and direct films after his accident.

Christopher Reeve became a crusader to help find therapies and treatments for paralysis and was an outspoken supporter of stem cell research. Dana Reeve was credited with carrying on his work through the foundation.

"After Christopher's death, Dana was determined to preserve the important work and the legacy of hope that became his life's mission," Lewis said. "Even in our grief, the foundation must pick up and continue to go forward with this mission.

"At the same time, we commit ourselves to ensuring that the light of grace, courage and hopefulness that Dana embodied continues to shine bright -- bringing comfort and hope to people living with paralysis and their families and caregivers."

She is survived by the couple's son, Will, 13; her father; two sisters; and two stepchildren, according to the foundation's statement.

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