CHICAGO (WLS) --The unexpected death of the daughter of Illinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno may have been related to injuries suffered in an accident last month. Lisa Radogno died of a massive pulmonary embolism weeks after she was hit by a car.
Lisa, 31, was struck by a car in Washington, D.C., in mid-May. A spokeswoman for Leader Radogno said Lisa came back to Lemont, Ill., to recover after the hit-and-run crash that injured her wrist and knees, but had recently returned to work in Washington. She fell ill Tuesday evening and was rushed to the hospital.
Lisa died Wednesday with her mother and father, Chicago attorney Nunzio Radogno, at her bedside. U.S. Senator Mark Kirk also kept vigil at Lisa's hospital room, the spokeswoman said. Lisa had worked at his Capitol Hill office as an executive assistant since 2008.
Friends say Lisa Radogno had three loves: her family, the Chicago White Sox, and politics.
"Sometimes it's a profession that breeds distrust or breeds jealousy, and that wasn't Lisa at all. She would have none of that," said Lance Trover, Radogno's friend.
Trover worked with Radogno on the staff of U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, who eulogized his executive assistant and friend Thursday on the Senate floor.
"We will miss her so very dearly. Lisa, I will tell you that this loss is, sorry, Mr. President, I get fairly emotional about this death that just happened yesterday," said Sen. Kirk.
Lisa, a graduate of Lyons Township High School, made her own mark in Washington. She was a steady hand as Sen. Kirk battled his own health problems, a stroke in 2012.
"She was such a strong supporter of mine, even stronger than myself," said Sen. Kirk.
"She's probably the first person Sen. Kirk would see in the morning when he'd arrive and the last person he'd see when he'd leave. And she was very good at her job," said Trover.
Rush Hospital lung specialist Dr. Mark Yoder says life-threatening blood clots can form in an injured leg and travel to the heart and lungs.
"It's a recognized risk factor. I'm sure that the physicians caring for her were aware of that, probably did appropriate measures to try to prevent that, but unfortunately even the appropriate measures, when implemented perfectly, are not perfect," said Dr. Yoder.
Doctors say a pulmonary embolism can kill with little warning but symptoms often include shortness of breath and chest pain.
The Radogno family has not yet announced funeral arrangements.