Father mourns Thousand Oaks teen who died from flu complications

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It was standing room only as more than 1,000 mourners gathered at Saint Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church in Thousand Oaks to celebrate the life of 14-year-old Gabriella Chabot. (KABC)

It was standing room only as more than 1,000 mourners gathered at Saint Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church in Thousand Oaks to celebrate the life of 14-year-old Gabriella Chabot, who died suddenly of flu complications.

Her father, Michael Chabot, said his bright-eyed and bubbly daughter died so unexpectedly from complications of the flu that it's shaken many who knew her to the core.

"I drove her to school that day and kissed her and that was it," said Chabot.

Later that day, Gabriella came home from school, put on her pajamas and went straight to bed.

"She's just like, 'I'm going to take a nap,' then just stopped breathing," Chabot said.

The La Reina High School freshman had returned to class after suffering from flu symptoms since the end of January.

She had gone to the doctor twice and received the antiviral medication Tamiflu. Her family said Gabriella tested positive for influenza type B.

Looking back, her father doesn't know what could have been done differently. "Don't panic, but be proactive and I think the message is listen to your kids," Chabot said.

Other than frequent stomach aches, the teen who loved to joke and take pictures of her parents and grandparents was healthy and strong.

At her funeral, her dad talked about the memories he treasured most: Gabriella's belly laughs, her magical hugs and her electric smile.

"I just want them to remember her. You know, everybody after today goes on with their lives and this is our new reality and I don't want people to forget her," Chabot said.

The family has set up a memorial scholarship in Gabriella Chabot's name.

Related Topics:
healthhealthfluflu deathThousand OaksVentura County
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