PINELLAS PARK, Fla., March 31 (UPI) -- Terri Schiavo, whose 15 years in a persistent vegetative state sparked an unprecedented number of bitter court fights, died Thursday at the age of 41.
The brain-damaged woman expired two weeks after a feeding tube was removed from her body, cutting off her sole supply of nutrients and water, CBS reported Thursday.
Schiavo, a Roman Catholic whose devout parents and siblings pled with numerous state and federal courts to intervene, fell into a coma-like state in 1990 from complications of a heart attack.
Her death in a Florida hospice marked the successful conclusion of her husband's efforts to end an existence he said she would not have wanted.
But it also marked an agonizing defeat for her family and millions of pro-life supporters whose public demonstrations on her behalf failed to translate into a judicial mandate to keep her alive and give her rehabilitation.
In recent weeks, numerous public officials and bodies, including President Bush and his brother, the governor of Florida, as well as Congress and the Supreme Court, were drawn into a sad and protracted tug-of-war that embodied one of the nation's most profound cultural and religious divides.