Throughout her monthslong ordeal -- a coma, the 13 broken ribs, bruised lungs and pneumonia -- Sharon Lee Gillis remained hopeful, her husband said.
The 61-year-old Big Coppitt Key woman died May 29, with pneumonia the final obstacle to the recovery for which she fought.
"She had been in and out of the hospital constantly since the crash, but she stayed positive," said her husband, Key West jazz guitarist Michael Gillis.
Her ordeal began with a Sept. 12 car crash on Stock Island, after which she fell into a coma for two weeks. Doctors had given her a 50-percent chance at survival.
Gillis also suffered from Parkinson's disease and reflexive sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), a chronic neurological syndrome that affects skin, muscles, joints and bones. After the crash, she was diagnosed with a rare form of pneumonia that inflames tissue surrounding the lungs.
"They didn't foresee it being fatal for her," Michael Gillis said of the pneumonia.
Sharon Gillis likely was headed to Key West to visit friends at 7:48 a.m. that day in September when she drove into the back of a southbound delivery truck stopped at a red light at Cross Street on U.S. 1.
Troopers noted in the crash report that she didn't appear to have braked or swerved to avoid the collision. Hospital tests were negative for drugs or alcohol.
Her husband thinks she was momentarily distracted.
Two Ramrod Key men in the delivery truck were uninjured, and no other vehicles were involved in the crash.
The Key West music community responded with a series of concert benefits to help raise money for the couple.
A celebration of Sharon's life is tentatively scheduled for the first week in July, but Michael Gillis is still planning the event with family.
"She was a fighter," he said. "We want to celebrate that."