Brave mum loses cancer battle

Last updated 15:04 29/09/2014

Months before he died, actor Robin Williams made a video clip for terminally-ill New Zealand woman's bucket list.

Jack and Vivian Waller with Sophie
DREAM WEDDING: Jack and Vivian Waller with daughter Sophie, pictured at their wedding in February – a month after a grim diagnosis from doctors.

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After a strong fight against an aggressive form of bowel cancer, 21-year-old Vivian Waller died at 11.15pm on Sunday.

The Manly resident's struggle had captured the hearts of Auckland's Hibiscus Coast community, which rallied to organise a wedding and reception for her and husband Jack in February. 

Her story went international when the late comedian and actor Robin Williams sent her a personal message weeks before his death.

Vivian's parents Yahn and Wendy Fittall paid tribute to their daughter on her Facebook page.

''There is a new star in heaven tonight... she left us peacefully and in awe of her courage and strength. She has gone to be in heaven with her Nana she so dearly loved.''

Waller's mother was at her bedside when she died.

"I was sitting next to her holding her hand. That was her final wish - that I would be there with her like that. Jack was sitting in the room too," she said.

Waller's family had received a call from the hospice earlier that day asking them to come in. 

Each family member got time with her then gathered in a separate room and waited.

"She went peacefully in her sleep," Fittall said.

Yahn Fittall said one of the things he would remember about his daughter was music.

"Vivian and I used to absolutely love to sing together. Just the dynamics of singing with a family member you are really close to is magical."

Her mother said she loved shopping, dress ups and makeup. "She took me to get a manicure and pedicure. We would go to shops and try on funny glasses and take photos."

Her sister Kellie described her as a loving sister who always saw the best in people.

Brother JJ said: "Even if we had our differences she would still love you and be there for you. Even though she was suffering she still wanted to please other people."

Waller had been fighting the cancer since earlier this year.

She had just recorded herself reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar on video for one-year-old daughter Sophie to watch in coming years.

Waller was in the Hibiscus Hospice with husband Jack Waller when she died.

The family are gathered at their Manly home grieving. They will have a private service, and friends and public will be invited to a celebration of life ceremony later this week.

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