19-year-old NAU student with meningitis has died

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(Family photo) (Family photo)

A Northern Arizona University student who was hospitalized with a rare type of meningitis has died.

Lianne Dennstedt, 19, was beginning her sophomore year when she became ill with a severe sore throat.

A week later, she was admitted to the hospital with meningitis, double pneumonia and renal failure caused by Fusobacterium necrophorum.

"Fusobacterium. So the meningitis didn't come from an outside source. It was basically produced from her own body," explained her father, Shawn Dennstedt.

The once-healthy, fun-loving girl was soon in a coma at Flagstaff Medical Center. 

She died Monday night.

[RELATED: NAU student in a coma with rare form of meningitis, father shares a warning]

Dennstedt's parents released the following statement Tuesday:

"Last night, we experienced what no parent should have to endure. Our precious daughter, Lianne, lost her battle with a rare and aggressive bacterial infection that caused meningitis and other complications. Our family is devastated by the loss of our vibrant, loving Lianne, who had a tender soul and brought so much joy and laughter to the world.

"Lianne fought for her life during two weeks in intensive care, with a team of specialists doing everything they could. Despite every conceivable effort and prayer to keep her with us, Lianne passed away peacefully with her loving family by her side. While we cannot begin to describe the unimaginable sorrow of losing a child, we take comfort knowing Lianne is with the angels in Heaven now.

"She was the light of our lives, and we must now begin the long, painful journey to understand a life without her in it."

Survivors include her parents, Brenda and Shawn Dennstedt, her 16-year-old sister, Jaimee and many extended family members.

Her parents ask that their privacy is respected as they cope with the loss of their daughter. Funeral arrangements are pending.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made at https://www.youcaring.com/liannedennstedt-943871.

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