Venida Browder, 63, passed away after years of fighting for justice for her son Kalief Browder.
According to her attorney Paul Prestia, Browder died on Friday at Saint Barnabas Hospital following complications from a heart attack.
Her son, Kalief, took his life back in June 2015 after spending years inside Rikers jail for allegedly stealing a backpack without being convicted. His family couldn’t make the $3,000 bail, so he spent three years in Rikers, enduring beatings by guards and 400 days total in solitary confinement before the charges against him were ultimately dropped.
After getting out of jail, Browder enrolled Bronx Community College, but suffered bouts with depression that triggered other suicide attempts and a stay at the psych ward at Harlem Hospital.
Browder, then 22, hanged himself with an air conditioning cord in his Bronx home in June 2015.
The night before his suicide, Browder told his mother, “Ma, I can’t take it anymore.”
“She was a woman of incredible grace and compassion who tirelessly fought for justice for her son Kalief and who championed the civil rights of others in our city,” Prestia said Sunday.
“But the stress from this crusade coupled with the strain of the pending lawsuits against the city and the pain from the death were too much to for her to bear. In my opinion she literally died of a broken heart.”
Earlier this month, Jay-Z announced he’d produce a six-part documentary on Kalief’s life.