Patricia Van Tighem, 1958-2005

Canadian Patricia Van Tighem, whose harrowing account of her savage mauling by a grizzly in 1983 is recounted in her memoir The Bear's Embrace: A Story of Survival, has died.

Van Tighem and her husband Trevor Janz were hiking near Montana in the Canadian Rockies when a brown grizzly appeared out of nowhere and attacked her husband. In horror, Van Tighem sought refuge in a nearby tree but the bear climbed after her and destroyed her face.

Van Tighem's life since then had been a nightmare of endless surgeries, relentless pain, and severe bouts of post-traumatic stress syndrome. When she wrote The Bear's Embrace in 2001, her family hoped it would trigger a full emotional recovery.

Sadly, Van Tighem committed suicide on December 14. She was 47.