Shirley Knight, a two-time Oscar nominee for best supporting actress, died early on Wednesday morning, April 22, at the age of 83 years old. Her daughter, Kaitlin Hopkins, posted a moving tribute to her mother on her Facebook page, saying “I was at your side and you went peacefully.” Knight is survived by her two daughters, Kaitlin and Sophie Hopkins.
Knight died during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, which has many people wondering about her cause of death. Did Knight die of coronavirus complications? Knight’s official cause of death has not been confirmed, but her declining condition in the last few weeks stemmed from a serious fall she suffered at the assisted living place where she lived in Los Angeles. She underwent surgery after suffering serious injuries, and in the following weeks, her health declined and she required hospice care in her final days.
Knight Suffered a Serious Fall Which Required Surgery, After Which Her Condition Declined
In a post on April 12, Kaitlin shared the latest news about her mother’s condition. She said that Knight had a “very serious fall” a few weeks ago in Los Angeles at the assisted living place where she lived. According to Kaitlin, the assisted living facility did not inform them of the severity of her injuries: “She was in agony, and was immobile on her entire left side, badly bruised, literally black and blue from her neck all the way down the entire left side of her body, and could not walk, use her arm, eat or do anything for herself. We had to buy a wheelchair just to transport her,” Kaitlin wrote.
Ten days after the incident, she was able to get emergency surgery: partial shoulder replacement surgery and reconstructing her broken arm, which had been “shattered in four places.” The coronavirus outbreak made things more complicated and traumatic for Knight, who had to undergo emergency surgery alone despite suffering from “advanced memory loss.”
In her post on April 22, Kaitlin said that she didn’t expect this to happen after her mother’s surgery. She said, “It is hard to believe it has been 26 days since I got in the car and drove to meet Sophie and bring you back to Texas.” She added:
To be honest, I didn’t see things going this way after your surgery, it had gone so well. I wanted to think because Sophie and I got you safely to Texas that I could save you, give you back what you had before but all I could do is make this experience a better one, all I could do is love, forgive, celebrate, and feel.
Knight Spent the Last Few Weeks After a Surgery at Her Daughter’s Home in Texas
Kaitlin wrote that she was grateful that in the last weeks, her mother was able to feel loved and surrounded by her friends and family. She said Knight was able to Facetime friends and family over Easter weekend when she was feeling well, and “perhaps that was the closure you needed, I don’t know, I just know after that you were ready to let go, and we brought you home.”
She also said that friends and family sent audio and video recordings of stories and good memories they had of Knight and with her, and she appreciated having them so she could focus on something positive during her mother’s final days, like the impact Knight had on others’ lives.
Kaitlin also wrote about a hospice team helping out in the last week and arranging the visit of a music therapist:
He sat and played your favorite songs for over an hour, seamlessly going from one to the next. He set the tempos to match your rapid breathing until he was in sync with you, then he started to slow the tempo down, until you started following his tempo. It was amazing to watch how it calmed you down, and to see your breathing fall into step with his, calm and steady. I didn’t have to give you any medication for several hours afterwards. It was really amazing.