July 26, 2011 / 6:23 PM / 8 years ago

Arizona woman dies four weeks after bear attack

PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona woman has died from a massive brain hemorrhage nearly a month after being mauled by a 250-pound male black bear while walking her dog at a country club, her family said on Tuesday.

Lana Hollingsworth, 61, died late on Monday at a Scottsdale hospital of complications from the injuries she received when the bear attacked her in Pinetop, in northeast Arizona, her husband Marv Hollingsworth said.

“She was a real animal lover, so it’s strange that she was killed by bear,” Hollingsworth told Reuters. “But that’s the way life can be, I guess.”

Lana Hollingsworth is believed to be the first person to die from a bear attack in Arizona since at least 1990, state officials said. There had been six other non-fatal attacks during that time period.

Authorities said the bear attacked Hollingsworth three separate times on June 28 at a site near where the bear had been looking for food in a trash dumpster.

Witnesses and neighbors said they responded to the woman’s screams as the bear launched its first attack, yelling and honking their car horns and causing the animal to scramble up a tree. But the bear attacked her a second and third time before fleeing.

The animal was found with the help of tracking dogs about one mile away and was shot and killed, authorities said.

Hollingsworth was airlifted to the hospital with serious injuries, mostly to her head and upper body. The community rallied around her, holding fund-raisers and setting up a special bank account to help pay her medical bills.

Marv Hollingsworth told Reuters that she underwent 11 surgeries to try to repair her injured body, but died at about 10 p.m. on Monday.

Doctors believe the brain hemorrhage may have been caused by a bacteria possibly in her system from the bear’s claws or saliva.

“She was doing well as can be after all those operations,” Hollingsworth said. “But then all of a sudden it wasn’t.”

Hollingsworth said his wife was an active volunteer since her retirement as a loan officer for a mortgage company.

“She was a very caring person,” he said, his voice choked with emotion. “She was the first one to sign up to help someone else.”

Editing by Tim Gaynor and Cynthia Johnston

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