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The mother of teenager Reena Virk, whose killing by her peers 21 years ago sparked an enduring debate over bullying, has died in an accident, a family member says.

A family member, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed Suman Virk’s death last weekend, but declined to discuss any details.

A service will be held in the Victoria region this weekend for Ms. Virk, who worked with her husband, Manjit, to campaign against bullying.

“Suman Virk’s tireless work to end bullying has helped make life better for countless kids in B.C. We will be forever indebted to her, and will continue to work to prevent youth violence in her memory,” Premier John Horgan said in a statement Monday.

In November, 1997, Reena Virk − then 14 − was assaulted under a Victoria-area bridge by a group of classmates and friends, the oldest of whom was 16 years old. Reena managed to walk away from that assault. But Kelly Ellard, then 15, and Warren Glowatski, then 16, were convicted of murder in a second attack on Reena.

Suman and Manjit Virk were in the spotlight as they attended and spoke out at legal hearings in the case that went on for years.

Education Minister Rob Fleming said in an interview on Monday that the advocacy of Ms. Virk and her family helped enable the province’s comprehensive anti-bullying strategy.

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark said that Ms. Virk turned her family’s tragedy into a “teachable moment” for B.C. and Canada.

Before returning to politics in 2010, Ms. Clark, in her work as a radio talk-show host, had interviewed Ms. Virk on bullying.

“[Ms. Virk] found healing in trying to stop bullying and educate the public about its impacts,” said Ms. Clark, for whom the fight against bullying became a personal and political cause. “She taught all of us that bullying is not without consequences. We need to understand that and make sure our kids understand.”

Ms. Clark said Ms. Virk rose to action despite suffering the loss of a child and conducted herself with “real grace” in the media and public spotlight.

Ms. Virk said she had no choice but to wage that campaign because she did not want her daughter to have died in vain.

“As we healed from the grief and got past the pain, it slowly became evident to myself that we have to help the public become aware of the very real problem of teen violence around us,” Ms. Virk said in a 1998 appearance on CBC television.

“It was something that grew as time passed by.”

She said she was intent on giving Reena a “human face” so people, especially youth who commit violent crimes, could understand that families suffer when youth are victimized.

But she said the pain was eternal. “You have the memories of our child who was on the way to being a young woman. And she was a very affectionate and loving person and I believe had a lot to contribute to society, and, you know all her hopes and dreams are forever taken away,” she told a CTV town hall in 2002.

“So we don’t have the joy of seeing our daughter graduate from high school and get married and have a family,” she said. “Nothing that could be done to the murderers is going to buy that back.”

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