Boston Marathon bombing survivor Victoria McGrath, whose resiliency inspired many others, has been killed in a car wreck with her college roommate in the United Arab Emirates.
McGrath, 23, and Priscilla Perez Torres were traveling in Dubai when they died in the accident, Northeastern University said in a statement.
"It is with the deepest sadness that I write to inform you that Victoria McGrath ... and Priscilla Perez Torres ... have perished in a car accident while traveling overseas," university president Joseph Aoun said.
"Victoria and Priscilla were vibrant, beloved members of our community, and their passing leaves a grievous absence in our community and in our hearts. This is a heartbreaking loss to their families, friends, and to all of us in the Northeastern family," he wrote in a statement.
Boston firefighter James Plourde, who carried McGrath to safety after she was seriously injured in the 2013 terrorist attacks, said his family is "devastated with the loss of our dearest friend.”
So heartbreaking. Northeastern student & Boston bombing victim was killed in a car crash. RIP Victoria McGrath?? pic.twitter.com/Ir9mqrADyp— mariah machnik (@mariahmachnik) March 7, 2016
“After the Boston Marathon Bombing Victoria become a major part of my life as well as my families. It’s been said that I helped to save her life, but the truth is Victoria saved my life after the marathon as her love, support and friendship helped myself and my family deal with the acts of 4/15/13,” he wrote in a statement.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the McGrath and Perez Torres Family’s as they deal with this unimaginable tragedy,” he said.
The young woman's friends and admirers took to social media to express their sadness and grief over her death.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of 23 year old Victoria McGrath. A young energetic beautiful soul gone too soon...God bless you Victoria...until we meet again," wrote brothers J.P. and Paul Norden, who each lost a limb in the bombings.
Carlos Arredondo, the man in the cowboy hat who became famous for helping victims at the site, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 that he knew McGrath. He saw her last year at a Marine Corps Birthday Celebration in the Boston Convention Center.
“She was loved by everyone in the Boston Marathon survivor group, because she was so sweet,” said Arredondo. “Seeing that this happened to her, I cannot believe it.”
The students were reportedly on their way to Bali and had a layover in Dubai.
They were undergraduate students at Northeastern and were to graduate this year.
Perez Torres was from Puerto Rico and "was passionate about travel and working on issues related to nutrition and women’s health," Aoun said.
McGrath was from Connecticut and "was devoted to helping others through leadership in student organizations and community service work," the university president said.
Each were kind, talented young women, "with exceptional futures before them,” he said.
In April 2013, McGrath was watching the Boston Marathon with a friend and her parents at the finish line when she was hit by shrapnel. Her femoral artery was cut, and she credited a quick-thinking bystander who applied a tourniquet with saving her life.
Her outspoken praise of first responders and ordinary people who tended to the wounded and dead was heartfelt and inspiring, her friends and family said.
In an oral history compiled by bombing victims, McGrath said: "I look up to the people who saved me and I would like to be that person some day."