SAN DIEGO — The death of “Twilight” fan Gisela Gagliardi at Comic-Con on Tuesday has left a dark cloud hanging over San Diego. But even though she’s gone, the impact Gagliardi made on her fellow fans while waiting in line for the “Breaking Dawn” Hall H panel will not soon be forgotten.
“I hadn’t met her before, but in talking, we had found out that we’d been at a lot of the same [‘Twilight’] events in the past. We had just never met,” fan Sandy Houle told MTV News of meeting Gagliardi. “We spent two days getting to know each other — there’s a lot of time [to spend] when you’re sitting on these lines — and we talked about everything we love about ‘Twilight,’ how we first got into the series and why.
“We got to know each other really well, so it was really shocking. It’s amazing how much you can miss somebody you just met. It’s been a hard couple of days.”
Fans acknowledged a more “somber tone” on the “Breaking Dawn” line following Gagliardi’s shocking death. But even in the midst of tragedy, her fellow fans are finding ways of honoring her devotion to the Stephenie Meyer series.
“We got this black ribbon today in [her] memory,” said “Twilight” fan Sahara Mendoza. “I think it’s a lovely thought.”
Sahara’s friend Val Burke added, “We want to keep her in our memory and have her here. She really wanted to be here, so we want to keep her here.”
Following Gagliardi’s death, many fans debated staying in line for Comic-Con’s highly awaited “Breaking Dawn” panel. “We were talking yesterday about how we’re really torn between, ‘I just want to go home. It doesn’t feel right to be here,’ and also wanting to be together,” Houle said.
Ultimately, they settled on the latter. “It’s good for us to be together,” she reasoned. “We’ve gotten very close to the people around us because we’ve gone through this together.”
And because they have gotten through this tragedy together, Houle believes that the “Breaking Dawn” panel will be an event well worth attending for all of the convention’s “Twilight” devotees.
“It’s going to be fun. We’re going to have a good time,” she said. “Honestly, that’s what she would have wanted. She loved ‘Twilight’ as much as the rest of us, absolutely loved it, and I know that she’d want us to [have fun]. We’re going to do that and remember her. We will all be thinking of her every minute.”
Gagliardi, 53, was struck by a passing car when she tried to run across the street toward the San Diego Convention Center against the light around 9 a.m. Tuesday. She suffered a serious head injury and was rushed to the hospital, where she later died.
The studio that produces and distributes the “Twilight” movies told MTV News that Lionsgate and Summit will remember Gagliardi during Thursday’s (July 12) panel. The supportive fanbase started a fundraiser to help her family pay for funeral expenses.