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'Liza took a final breath' | UGA student dies after battling brain tumor

Liza Burke's tumor was discovered after she experienced a hemorrhage while on spring break in Mexico last month.

ATLANTA — Liza Burke, the UGA senior who was rushed back to the U.S. after a brain hemorrhage while on spring break led to the discovery of a brain tumor, died early Friday morning.

Her mother Laura told 11Alive's Tracey Amick-Peer in a message that, "Liza took a final breath, sighed and transitioned into the next realm."

She said it happened around 2:20 a.m. 

"Liza has now been reunited with her sister and they are making up for lost time!" Laura said, referencing Liza's sister who passed away in 2008 due to a rare genetic disorder.

RELATED: 'A send-off only she deserves': UGA student fighting brain tumor stopping treatment

Supporters of the family running a GoFundMe had relayed the news in the past couple weeks that she was ending radiation treatment for the tumor. They had said they were going to find a "place by the sea where Liza can enjoy her final days."

Laura's message said Liza went to sleep hand-in-hand with her brother, Jack. Their dog, Beane, "quickly sensed it and was downstairs while I was being awakened," she added.

"After Hospice was called, we dressed Liza in colorful pajamas, gifted by her boyfriend’s mother and Jack’s girlfriend, Elli, braided her hair. Liza’s dad, uncle, and a few of my UGA friends came in to say their goodbyes," Laura said.

She said the funeral home came to pick up her body and it will be delivered to the Mayo Clinic, so that her brain can be removed for future study. It will then be returned for cremation and services.

"Celebrations of Liza’s big energy are in the planning stages: one held by her friends will be in Athens and another at a later date in her hometown of Asheville," Laura said.

She added that a fund is being set up at the Foundation of the Carolinas in her name for educational purposes. Some of the money will fund an endowment to the University of Georgia, "and we hope to direct some funds to further the education of Liza's students in San Pancho, Mexico."

Laura said details on those charitable efforts would be available at a later time.

Liza was enjoying her spring break in Mexico when she felt a headache coming on. She went to lay down for a nap, but couldn't be woken up by her friends. She was rushed to a hospital where it was discovered that she had a brain hemorrhage

The college senior was put on life support and once she was stable enough, her family got her back to the United States. Once she was back home, doctors discovered she had an "aggressive brain tumor," which they believe remained dormant for years.

Burke would then receive radiation treatment for six weeks in an attempt to shrink the size of the tumor. Sadly, doctors did not see much response.

The decision to cease radiation treatment followed.


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