Erica Garner, activist and daughter of Eric Garner, dead at 27

Last Updated Dec 30, 2017 1:51 PM EST

NEW YORK -- Erica Garner, an activist and the oldest daughter of a New York City man who was killed by a police chokehold, died Saturday, according to a statement posted on her official Twitter account. She was 27.

"She passed away this morning. The reports are real. We didn't deserve her," the account tweeted

The Twitter account, run by her family and friends since she became ill, asked that she be remembered as a mother, daughter, sister and aunt with a heart "bigger than the world."

Garner was hospitalized in critical condition earlier this month after suffering a heart attack. Her mother, Esaw Snipes-Garner, had said her daughter's cardiac arrest was triggered by an asthma attack.

Snipes-Garner said her daughter suffered her first heart attack not long after giving birth to a baby boy in August. Doctors said the pregnancy had put a strain on her heart, which was later found to be enlarged. 

The Rev. Al Sharpton, in announcing Garner's death Saturday, said she fought for justice and was "a warrior to the end." 

"She stood up for justice for her father. The media will say she died of a heart attack but that's only partially true because her heart was already broken when she couldn't get justice for her father," Sharpton said Saturday.

On Twitter, the NAACP thanked Garner for "taking a stand when so many others sat." 

Mayor Bill de Blasio called Garner's death a "horrible tragedy."

"I am praying for her family, who have already been through so much. This city will miss her unshakable sense of justice and passion for humanity," de Blasio tweeted.

"When you were her friend, you her friend through all adversity. She was a fierce protector of her friends and family. A truth teller. As genuine and authentic of a soul you'll ever encounter," activist Shaun King wrote on Twitter.

Garner became a vocal advocate against police brutality following the death of her father, Eric Garner, a Black Lives Matter icon. He died after a white police officer put him in a chokehold while arresting him on Staten Island in July 2014. 

video of the arrest showed him gasping for air and repeatedly saying, "I can't breathe." A grand jury declined to charge the officer, Daniel Pantaleo. The family later reached a $5.9 million settlement with the city.