GILBERT, Ariz. – A family member has confirmed that Lana Hollingsworth, the Gilbert woman who as attacked by a bear in late June, died overnight.
According to doctors, Hollingsworth died of a massive brain hemorrhage. She had undergone several surgeries in the three weeks since she was mauled on June 28.
Doctors believe an unknown bacteria, possibly from the bear’s claws, sparked an infection that they could not control. The theory is that the rampant infection might have caused the hemorrhage.
Robert Oates, Hollingsworth’s son, said the black bear essentially scalped his mother as she walked her dog outside her vacation home in Pinetop.
According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the bear attacked Hollingsworth three times before a neighbor was able to chase it into the woods.
Hollingsworth was flown to Healthcare Osborn Medical Center where doctors performed a series of surgeries to repair her skull and her badly injured arms. Physicians kept her in a medically-induced coma most of the time. By July 6, Hollingsworth had already undergone seven surgeries.
Community members organized several fundraisers to help Hollingsworth’s family pay for her rapidly mounting medical expenses. They also set up an account in Hollingsworth's name at Bank of America.
The bear, which had been scavenging for trash near a Dumpster at the time of the attack, was quickly tracked down and killed. The Arizona Department of Health Services ran a rabies test. It came back negative.
Bear attacks on humans are rare. Only seven incidents, including the attack on Hollingsworth, have been documented in Arizona since 1990, which is as far back as the department’s database tracks.
Hollingsworth was 61 years old.