Singer Christina Grimmie was only 22 years old when she was murdered at a concert in Orlando, Florida. Two years after the rising star’s tragic death, her family suffered another devastating blow.
In 2010 Christina Grimmie would post a video of herself singing to YouTube that would change her life. The clip of her cover – she sang “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus – has racked up nearly 13 million views. It also caught the eye of the management agency that signed her afterward.
The next year, Grimmie put out an E.P., won an American Music Award and took her talents on the road with superstar Selena Gomez. The pair toured together through the U.S. and Canada on Gomez’s We Own the Night Tour.
After another tour with Gomez in 2013, the girl from Marlton, New Jersey, made her way onto the small screen. She competed on reality show The Voice in 2014. Under coach Adam Levine, Grimmie came in third place on the hit program.
But her skyrocketing career would come to a tragic halt in the summer of 2016. That year, she went on tour with Before You Exit as the band’s opening act. At their Orlando show, Grimmie held a meet-and-greet with her fans.
As she signed autographs, a man later identified as Kevin James Loibl, 27, approached her. He pulled out one of the two guns he had on him and opened fire on the 22-year-old singer. Grimmie’s brother Marcus tackled Loibl, but it was too late.
“It is with a heavy heart that we can confirm that Christina has passed… She was shot at her show in Orlando, and unfortunately didn’t survive the gunshot wounds,” a representative for the singer told People magazine.
After shooting Grimmie, Loibl shot himself. Therefore, Orlando police chief John Mina couldn’t be sure of the shooter’s motive, but speculated that he had been an obsessed fan. Mina did, however, commend the singer’s brother, Marcus, for potentially “prevent[ing] further loss of life.”
In the wake of his sister’s death, Marcus – along with his parents, Tina and Bud – was determined to keep her legacy alive. Together, they founded The Christina Grimmie Foundation, which would help other families after experiencing their own tragedies.
More specifically, “The Christina Grimmie Foundation exists to support families who have lost a loved one to gun violence, or have a member diagnosed with breast cancer,” its website says. It hopes that it can help recipients to “focus… on healing, rather than finances or household duties,” the site added.
It was obvious why gun violence was part of their foundation’s focus. But the Grimmies also had first-hand experience with breast cancer – matriarch Tina had fought the disease four times as of 2014, when Christina starred on The Voice.
Tina, known as Mama Grimmie to fans, had taken over Christina’s Instagram page after her death. With the foundation established, Tina used the social media app to share updates about fundraisers and her daughter’s posthumous music releases.
Of course, Tina used the page to commemorate her daughter’s life, too. On Christina’s birthday, for instance, she wrote, “It warms our hearts to see the tremendous impact you’re still making on this Earth through your music and videos.”
However, on September 3, 2018, a rare, non-Christina-related post appeared on her Instagram page. This time, it provided an update from the Grimmie family – they had once again experienced a tragic loss.
“We are saddened to announce the loss of our beloved Tina, also affectionately known as ‘Mama Grimmie’ to the millions of fans of Christina Grimmie around the world. She will be missed immensely,” the family’s statement said.
The Grimmie family revealed Tina’s cause of death. She had passed after “a courageous and brave battle with cancer,” it said – a fight that had lasted “for many years, even until her final hours with her family by her side.”
The statement went on to say, “Tina Grimmie was a powerful and shining example of motherhood, being an amazing wife, while giving love and encouragement to others. Her laugh, energy, passion and joyful spirit will eternally be a part of all of us.”
“Our family is grateful to all of Tina’s committed caregivers and to our close friends and family for their unwavering prayers and support in the times we needed it most,” the statement continued. But they weren’t the only ones who had given them strength, the Grimmies said.
“We are also grateful to our beloved #TeamGrimmie, Christina’s amazing base of fans, for their immense outpouring of love on social media that’s continually kept us encouraged,” the Grimmies’ statement said.
Even in their loss, the Grimmies said that there was some comfort in Tina’s passing. Their statement said, “While this is a bittersweet moment for us as a family, particularly after losing Christina two years ago, we rejoice at the thought that Tina and Christina are united once again.”