After more than four years of insisting her daughter was still alive, Jahi McMath's mother is grieving. Nailah Winkfield says Jahi—who was declared brain dead in California after routine tonsil surgery in December 2013, when she was 13—died in New Jersey last week from excessive bleeding and liver failure after an operation to deal with an intestinal problem. Family attorney Christopher Dolan says a death certificate was issued in New Jersey stating that Jahi had been suffering from a brain injury since the 2013 operation, CNN reports. He says he will continue his pro bono work to have Jahi's original death certificate revoked. With Jahi on life support, the family moved to New Jersey in 2014 so she could continue receiving care. Her mother said she showed occasional signs of life, including finger movements.
A California judge ruled last fall that Jahi, whose family is suing the hospital for medical malpractice, might still be alive. Dolan tells the San Francisco Chronicle that the New Jersey death certificate will be proof the first one should be annulled. "How do you issue a death certificate on someone who is already dead?" he says. Winkfield, who sold her house in Oakland to help pay for Jahi's care, tells the AP that she's "devastated by the loss of her daughter who had showed tremendous strength and courage," but she's glad Jahi "forced the world to rethink the issue of brain death." "These last four-and-a-half years have not been easy," she says. "I can go to sleep knowing I did everything possible for my kid, and no one can take that away from me." (Read more Jahi McMath stories.)