Kathleen Brennan, a master’s student at the the U of O, passed away on May 19. Photo: Brendan Montgomery.
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Friends of student describe her as “vivacious,” full of life 

On Friday, May 19, Kathleen Brennan, a master’s student at the University of Ottawa, died of a stroke at the Ottawa Hospital (Civic Campus) after taking a fall earlier that month while traveling in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

According to Stewart Cattroll, Brennan’s boyfriend, her injuries from the fall were mild, but resulted in a blood clot that led to a stroke just one day after the accident.

“Her death was peaceful and sudden and she was not in any pain other than a fractured wrist from the fall,” said Cattroll.

Brennan, who was 23 years old at the time of her death, had been pursuing a master’s degree in international development and globalization at the U of O. She had graduated from Carleton University on 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Friends described Brennan as fearless, full of life, adventurous, passionate, and a traveler who loved to explore new places and different cultures, having visited more than 20 countries during her short life. She also had a deep love for animals and classical music.

A celebration of Brennan’s life took place at the Hellenic Meeting and Reception Centre in Ottawa, on Saturday, May 27. According to Cattroll, he and Brennan’s family wanted to make the celebration “as positive as (they) could, because that’s how (Brennan) lived her life.”

“She was not built negative, she was built focusing on the positive,” said Cattroll.

The celebration was attended by around 400 family and friends from across the country.

Brendan Montgomery, a close friend of Brennan, told the Fulcrum that he naturally gravitated towards her energy and passion for travel. Some of their adventures included playing paintball on top of old mansions in Colombia and visiting Chernobyl.

“We did some badass shit together,” said Montgomery.

Brennan and Montgomery also visited over seven countries together, such as Morocco, Ukraine, and Turkey. “We were always pushing each other for the next one,” said Montgomery. “There is too much to say … everyone should go out and travel for (Brennan).”

Brianna DaSilva, a second-year master’s student in Brennan’s program described her as “vivacious.”

“Being her friend, she really got me out of my shell, She always made you feel comfortable and made sure you have a good time and always there for you,” said DaSilva. “She was the kind of friend that made you feel invincible.”

On June 6, 2017 Brennan was awarded a masters degree posthumously by the U of O.