Back in May, 22-year-old Salman Abedi detonated a homemade shrapnel-laden bomb at an Ariana Grande concert, killing 23 people and injuring 250. Amongst those hurt was Lisa Roussos, who was placed into a medically induced coma after suffering serious injuries.
While Lisa survived the attack, her eight-year-old daughter, the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena bombing, Saffie Roussos, was pronounced dead. When Lisa’s husband, 43-year-old Andrew Roussos, had originally arrived at the arena, he found his eldest daughter, Ashlee, being treated by paramedics but Saffie was no where to be found.
It wasn’t until later that Andrew was told his wife had been taken to a nearby hospital and that his youngest had died in the attack. “I couldn’t take it in,” Andrew said, recalling the moment he was told of his daughter’s passing, “I just sat there looking at him. It’s your worst nightmare. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know what to think.”
Not wanting to mourn for his child without his wife, Andrew did his best to stay strong and keep the hope alive that Lisa would recover. A close family friend and the family’s spokesman, 38-year-old Mike Swanny, confirmed that Lisa had been taken off life support and was fully conscious. He also confirmed that Lisa was aware of Saffie’s death.
As reported by her husband, Lisa’s first words when she awoke were, “Saffie’s gone, isn’t she?” In response, Andrew could only nod. “That’s all that was said, really,” Andrew explained on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme. Andrew recalls that Saffie was everything you could wish for in a little girl.
Members of the public have left memorials for Little Saffie outside of the Rousso’s fish and chip shop in Leyland, Lancashire. According to Andrew, Saffie loved stardom and would have wanted to be remembered across the country.
Lisa and her daughter, Ashlee, are both still in the hospital but are improving rapidly with Ashlee being released as of Wednesday. To get through this hard time, the Rousso family does a “little bit of laughing”, “a little bit of joking”, and “a little bit of crying and cuddling” according to Andrew. July 4th would have been Saffie’s 9th birthday.
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