Royal Oak City Commissioner Kim Gibbs died of brain damage brought on by complications from her diabetes, according to autopsy results released Monday by the Oakland County medical examiner.
COVID-19 was listed as a contributory cause of her death, which was blamed on hypoxic schemic encephalopathy and related complications.
Gibbs, 48, gained notoriety after she attended the “Operation Gridlock” rally last spring outside the state Capitol where hundreds gathered to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extension of her stay-at-home order to stem the spread of COVID-19. Gibbs was seen on TV without a face mask and not keeping social distance at the rally.
Dr. Ljubisa Dragovic, the county medical examiner, wrote in an email to the Free Presson Monday that there was “no evidence of trauma or foul play” and the manner of death was listed as natural.
Dragovic wrote that the hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy condition was “permanent brain damage due to lack of oxygen/low blood pressure brought about by complications of her diabetes approximately three weeks prior to being removed from artificial life support.”
He said contributory causes were Type 1 diabetes mellitus and COVID-19 positive (on admission to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak).
Gibbs died in the hospital Aug. 20, two weeks after her mother found her unconscious in her Royal Oak home and called for paramedics, her friend and colleague, Royal Oak City Commissioner Randy LeVasseur previously said.
Gibbs was the victim of a hit-and-run car crash Aug. 1 in Bloomfield Township, in which two other women were ticketed by police and released. A witness said one of the women was driving a car that ran a red light at Telegraph and West 14 Mile roads and hit Gibbs’ vehicle, according to police and traffic crash reports previously obtained by the Free Press through a Freedom of Information Act request.
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Facebook posts indicated the accident was severe enough to total Gibbs’ car. The posts indicated she later wasn’t responding to text messages from loved ones, and her mother went to her home to check on her. She found Gibbs lying unconscious and called for paramedics. Gibbs was transported to the hospital, but never regained consciousness, the posts stated.
More: Royal Oak commissioners censure member who flouted COVID rules at anti-Whitmer rally
In April, Gibbs, a lawyer, was censured by the Royal Oak City Commission after she attended the April 15 “Operation Gridlock” rally in Lansing.
Afterward, Gibbs was the subject of attacks on social media and on her personal cellphone and email.
In May, she was caught shoplifting from a Meijer store. She was sentenced to 12 months of probation, with the matter to be dismissed if she successfully completed probation.
At her sentencing, Gibbs said she was “extremely remorseful,” was under an undue amount of stress and apologized to the citizens of Royal Oak.
In an earlier statement, she said: “I obviously was not thinking clearly, and I take full responsibility for my actions. Recently, I had to choose between insulin and food, and I chose the insulin, which helps me stay alive.”
Gibbs, a first term city commissioner, at the time of her death was a Republican candidate for Oakland County Board of Commissioners, vying for the seat held by board Chairman Dave Woodward, a Democrat.
City officials are looking to fill Gibbs’ seat on the City Commission, which expires in November 2021.
Citizens who were interested in being considered for the appointment were to submit an application form to the city clerk by Monday.
Applicants had to be a registered voter and a resident of Royal Oak for at least one year at the time their application was filed, according to a post on the city’s website.
City Commissioners are expected to discuss the applications at their Sept. 28 meeting, Mayor Michael Fournier said.