(KPTV/CNN) – A Southern California woman who was wounded in the 2017 Las Vegas massacre has died, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Coroner Department said.
Kimberly Gervais, 57, of Mira Loma, California, was one of the more than 500 people injured when Stephen Paddock opened fire from his hotel room on the Route 9 Harvest Music Festival on October 1, 2017.
Fifty-eight people were killed in the attack, making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. Gervais' death could potentially be the 59th fatality, depending on the findings of an autopsy.
Gervais, who suffered spinal injuries and had been recovering at a nursing facility in Redlands, California, died Friday, the coroner said in a statement Monday.
An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause and manner of death, the statement said.
"She'll never leave my heart, ever," said Gervais' sister, Dena Sarvela.
Gervais went to the festival with two other friends, one of whom was killed in front of her during the shooting.
The night before the festival, Sarvela says Gervais told her she was ready to sell her business, retire and enjoy her life.
"She was ready to just go abroad and enjoy life, like she should have, and it was snatched from her. She worked her life, and butt off for – just to go enjoy, you know, and she doesn’t get that, she doesn’t get that chance,” Sarvela said.
Last week, Gervais’ heart stopped. The stress on her body was immense from the many injuries she sustained.
“She hurt. Even though she was paralyzed from the neck up, she could feel all the pain,” Sarvela said. “There was scrap metal still in her because he used exploding bullets.”
The last two years, as Sarvela describes, have been agony.
“It took almost a year before she was able to transport out to go back home to California, that was rough,” Sarvela said. “She lost her zest for life because of it, because of the shooting, because of her injuries that she sustained. It was hard to be that same person, that we all know and love.”
Gervais lost her husband in 2000. She raised two daughters, managed their small business alone, and loved to travel.
For Sarvela, her sister’s passing is bittersweet. She knows she was afforded the time that many didn’t get, while she was also released of her pain.
“I also know she was missing her husband very, very much, and that’s what gives me hope – that she’s with him right now. Gives me a lot of hope, and I know they are,” Sarvela said.
Two memorial services are planned for Gervais: one at her Los Angeles home, and another in Kansas City, where they grew up together.
Sarvela and her brother plan to take her ashes on a road trip across the United States in her memory, something they used to do together as kids.