Inglewood Councilwoman Ann Wilk was in a coma at a Massachusetts hospital Wednesday after suffering two heart attacks, and doctors saw no hope for recovery, friends and city officials said.
Family members had authorized doctors to remove Wilk from life-support systems Tuesday.
Wilk, 56, suffered the attacks Saturday while visiting relatives in Fall River, Mass., where she was born. She has been in a coma since, friends and city officials said.
Wilk has been in delicate health and was hospitalized last year with heart problems. She has diabetes and has walked with the aid of a cane as the result of injuries suffered in a car accident two years ago.
But Councilmen Anthony Scardenzan and Daniel Tabor, who accompanied Wilk on a trip to the National League of Cities meeting last week in Boston, said she appeared to be feeling well.
"I asked her how she was doing, and she said, 'I haven't felt better in a long time,' " said Scardenzan, a longtime friend and political ally.
After the Boston conference, Wilk and her husband of 33 years, Zygmunt, went to Fall River, about 60 miles away. Wilk apparently had a heart attack and collapsed while dining with relatives, officials said, and she suffered a second heart attack at the hospital.
Family members gave permission to take Wilk off life-support systems when brain scans and other tests determined she had no chance of recovery.
The Wilks have four children--Stephen, Victoria, Frances and Paul--and a granddaughter, Jessica.
A 33-year resident of Inglewood, Wilk began her community activism in 1969 when she joined residents fighting noise from nearby Los Angeles International Airport. She was active in parent groups and won election to the school board in 1979, serving a single 4-year term during a period of turbulent racial change in the city and its schools.
She lost a reelection bid but continued her community involvement as a member of the Inglewood Chamber of Commerce's board of directors, the Inglewood Philharmonic board and several service clubs. In the 1987 council election, she challenged two-term incumbent Bruce Smith and won a narrow victory after a concerted grass-roots campaign. As she often pointed out, she is only the second woman elected to the City Council in Inglewood history, following Iris Crochet.
Friends and colleagues described her as a charming, energetic woman intensely committed to Inglewood.
"It's a terrible loss," said longtime friend and neighbor Virginia Robinson. "She couldn't understand people who want to retire and move away from the city. She wanted to stay right here and see what she could do for her community."
If Wilk dies, she will be the third Inglewood elected official to die in office in 16 months. Democratic Assemblyman Curtis Tucker died of cancer in October, and school board member Ernest Shaw died of a heart attack in September, 1987.
A council vacancy could be filled in a special election that would be consolidated with April 4 elections for two other seats on the 5-member council, Assistant City Manager Norman Cravens said.