Liza took a final breath and sighed’: Liza Burke, 21, dies 6 weeks after stage 4 cancer diagnosis

Liza Burke suffered a brain hemorrhage while celebrating her last spring break in Cabo San Lucas (Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network/Facebook)

 ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA: Liza Burke, a 21-year-old University of Georgia senior, tragically passed away after a six-week battle with a stage 4 brain tumor while she was on vacation in Mexico for spring break. The diagnosis was a grade four astrocytoma glioma, an aggressive and malignant tumor located on the brain stem that grows rapidly. The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, confirmed the diagnosis after Liza was rushed there from a hospital in Mexico following her brain hemorrhage.

Despite daily radiation treatments in hopes of shrinking the tumor, a CT scan on April 13 revealed a new brain hemorrhage, forcing the family to make the difficult decision to stop radiation treatment after consulting with her doctors on April 17. Liza passed away surrounded by her loved ones early Friday morning, April 28, according to a post on PostHope. The page was created by her mother, Laura McKeithen, to share daily updates on Liza’s condition. The family is devastated by their loss, and her mother expressed their appreciation for the love and support they have received from friends and strangers alike.

‘I share Liza’s passing…’

“It is with both relief and belief that I share Liza’s passing at around 2:20 last night. Liza has now been reunited with her sister and they are making up for lost time!” wrote McKeithen. “Liza took a final breath, sighed, and transitioned into the next realm. Beane, the dog quickly sensed it and was downstairs while I was being awakened. After Hospice was called, we dressed Liza in colorful pajamas, gifted by her boyfriend’s mother and Jack’s girlfriend, Elli, braided her hair. Liza’s dad, uncle, and a few of my UGA friends came in to say their goodbyes. Celebrations of Liza’s big energy are in the planning stages: one held by her friends will be in Athens and another at a later date in her hometown of Asheville,” her mother added.

Throughout Liza’s battle, her mother provided regular updates to Daily Mail, sharing the highs and lows of her daughter’s courageous fight. While it is unknown how long Liza had the tumor, her mother was told by doctors that it had likely been present for years, lying dormant until it suddenly became aggressive. This is a phenomenon known as tumor transformation, in which a previously benign tumor becomes malignant and rapidly grows. Unfortunately, this can happen without warning, as was the case with Liza.

‘She told me she felt like she was going to faint’

Liza’s mother revealed that her daughter had been experiencing symptoms such as headaches and lightheadedness since around 2019, which was when she began attending college. “Liza said maybe four times, ‘I think there is something wrong in my head’, and three times she told me she felt like she was going to faint.” But McKeithen assumed it was from a lack of sleep and the stress from her studies. “I assumed it was just a 20-something girl who is under a lot of pressure. The way she said it – it was never a plea… she never seemed like there was an urgency.”




The day prior to her brain hemorrhage, Liza was spending her Spring Break enjoying outdoor activities such as cliff diving, going on a boat ride, and having a bonfire. McKeithen recalled, “She was feeling great and she sent me a photo of her doing a handstand.” Liza’s boyfriend found her unresponsive after she took a nap following a workout at the gym. She had a massive headache and was rushed to the hospital where her mother received the devastating news about her brain tumor from the doctors.

‘Please continue your prayers for our Sleeping Warrior…’

“Tonight we begin the hunt for the perfect place by the sea where Liza can enjoy her final days supported by the infinite love that surrounds her. If I could, I would hang onto Liza, and follow here. But since I can’t, please continue your prayers for our Sleeping Warrior and for all of us who will never fully fill the void that will be left in her wake,” said her mother.


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