Gerardo Cruz, the young Costa Rican man who became a national hero for his stance against street harassment of women, died of a heart attack at Calderón Guardia hospital, Costa Rican media reported Thursday evening.
Patricia Barquero, Cruz’s mother, confirmed his death at 6:18 p.m. to the newspaper La Nación.
Cruz’s uncle, Giovani Barquero, told Channel 7 TV news that the family hoped to bury Cruz Friday.
Cruz had been in hospital since Oct. 7 recovering from several surgeries after he was stabbed by at least two assailants, according to police reports. Cruz had been off life support for more than a month, and his family had been hopeful that he would recover after he opened his eyes on Oct. 28, the newspaper La Nación reported.
Cruz became a viral sensation after he posted a video to his Facebook page of himself confronting a man who had been trying to film up a woman’s skirt with a smartphone camera. Judicial Investigation Police have given different accounts as to whether or not the attack on Cruz in the San José neighborhood of San Sebastián was related to his social media activism or if it was a robbery. The case is still under investigation.
The attack on Cruz set off a national dialogue on street harassment and catcalling. Marches took place around the capital San José in the weeks after his assault and several lawmakers came out in support of a bill that would criminalize the kind of lewd behavior that Cruz denounced on his Facebook page.