"We are sad to report that the battle is over."
With that, thousands of users on Internet's World Wide Web learned that
Sacramento lawyer Susan Steinsapir's closely watched struggle for life had ended at UCLA Medical Center.
She died Monday, nine days after receiving a heart transplant -- and nearly three weeks after her own hospital room home page was posted on the Internet.
"Susan is in a better place now, but before she died, she was constantly amazed at the outpouring of love and support she received from this worldwide Internet community," the Web page message said.
Using a laptop with modem from her hospital room, she and her husband, Andreas Ramos, tapped out frequent updates to the home page, "A Heart for Susan," at http://www.smartlink.net/~hiller/susan/.
Steinsapir received a heart Jan. 21, but died of complications about 1 p.m. Monday.
By the time she died, there had been nearly 12,000 visits to the home page, which was set up by Internet friend Mimi Hiller on Jan. 10.
Hiller met Steinsapir a year ago on an electronic bulletin board for cooking and recipes called rec.food.cooking. They met face to face for the first time last summer.
Suffering from congestive heart failure, Steinsapir qualified for a heart transplant last summer. She was rushed to Los Angeles by air ambulance in late December after being hospitalized in Sacramento.
News of Steinsapir's impending transplant spread so fast on the Internet that Hiller decided that a Web Site woud be the best way to get the word out.
"I've gotten so many (electronic) letters from people thanking me for what I've done, Hiller said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "I'm drained by the loss of my friend, but not from what I did. We're leaving the site up. One of the reasons...is to heighten awareness of the need for organ donations."
Since her death, there have been neaerly 500 additional visits to the Web site, Hiller said.
While in the hospital, Steinsapir received e-mail and cards from well-wishers in every state of the union as well as many foreign countries.
Steinsapir's husband, Andreas Ramos, a Sacramento-based computer consultant, sent a message addressed "Dear Everyone" on her e-mail Monday morning.
"I placed her emerald wedding ring on her hand, kissed her and washed her face," he wrote. "We'll remove the tubes...then we'll turn off the machines."
"She is dying without pain. She looks so lovely."
Susan Hattie Steinsapir was born in Sacramento on Feb. 26, 1955, the daughter of Janet Pollens Steinsapir and the late Leon J. Steinsapir, a physician. She was a 1972 graduate of C.K. McClatchy High School.
While a student at University of California, Davis, her studies were interrupted when she was stricken with Hodgkin's disease. But the disease went into remission after she underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments. In 1980, she graduated from UC Davis with a bachelor's degree in psychology. Attending evening classes, she graduated with a law degree from McGeorge School of Law in 1991.
She practiced law for the elderly, which includes probate and family law matters. She also was known for her avid interest in cooking. She enjoyed trying new restaurants and collecting cookbooks.
"She read cookbooks the way other people read novels," said longtime friend Anne Bourget.
In addition to her husband, Steinsapir is survived by her mother, who resides in Sacramento; a sister, Ellen Steinsapir of San Diego; and two brothers, Kenneth and Steven Steinsapir, both of Los Angeles.
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