Cheerleader Who Broke Her Legs When She Was Hit by Taxi as a Girl Dies Unexpectedly at 16: 'Miss You Dearly'

"I was living with an angel," Lillia Bartlow's father said of the Berkeley High School student

BHS ATHLETICS Twitter Lillia Bartlow
BHS ATHLETICS Twitter Lillia Bartlow

A 16-year-old California girl, who was seriously injured after being hit by a taxi when she was 9, has died, according to her family and school officials.

Lillia Bartlow, who attended Berkeley High School, died last Friday at her family's home, according to the Berkeley Scanner and SFGATE.

The high school sophomore, who survived being struck by a taxicab in 2016, was not feeling well and left school early on the day of her death, the Scanner reported. In January, the outlet reported that she began experiencing strong headaches, but that the cause of them had not been diagnosed.

"I was living with an angel," Darryl Bartlow, Lillia's father, told the Scanner. "She was as near perfect as perfect can be in a human being."

In a statement shared with SFGATE, the Berkeley Unified School District described the student as "a wonderful and promising young person who will be deeply missed at Berkeley High School and in the BUSD community."

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Lillia was a fourth grader when she was hit by the cab outside of John Muir Elementary School in March 2016, according to the Scanner.

The crash left her with two broken legs and kept her out of school for four months, per the outlet. But she recovered ahead of schedule thanks to her determination.

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When gymnastics became difficult following the crash, she turned to cheerleading, joining her school's varsity cheerleading squad last spring, according to the Scanner.

"Our hearts break with the tragic passing of Lillia Bartlow. Great person, student, athlete, and cheer teammate," the school's athletic department wrote in a statement on social media.

Alongside photographs of the student smiling in uniform, the school highlighted a touching tribute from the cheer team.

"A smile we will never forget, a laugh we will miss hearing, and an energy we will always remember, we love you lillia. thank you for bringing so much joy into our lives, and into the lives of so many. you were such a light, and we miss you endlessly," the team wrote.

"You never failed to light up a room and fill it with such contagious energy, we love and miss you dearly, and will celebrate your spirit eternally," the team continued. "We are sending all of our love and prayers to her family, friends, and all those who have experienced her wondrous presence. please remember to take time for yourselves, feel your feelings, and know we are all here to support one another."

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She was also a member of College Bound Academy. The program paid tribute to Lillia on Facebook following her death, calling the teen "an inspiring and intelligent CB Scholar" who was "full of life."

"Words cannot express how sad our College Bound Academy family is right now!" the nonprofit wrote over the weekend. "We will forever remember our College Bound Berkeley Academy Scholar."

Counseling and other grief support resources have been made available to students and staff in wake of Lillia's death, the district said in its statement to SFGATE.

A memorial is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Berkeley Unified School District headquarters auditorium, per the Scanner.

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