Monica Roberts "suffered a medical emergency" prior to her death, the Houston police have announced, based on a medical examiner's report.
Roberts, the Houston-based transgender activist and TransGriot blogger, died Monday at her apartment complex in the city. Her death was reported by friends Thursday via social media, and Houston police initially said she may have been the victim of a hit-and-run crash. But Friday, family members told local media, including ABC affiliate KTRK, that Roberts had been feeling ill in the days immediately before her death and had been encouraged to get tested for COVID-19. It is not yet known if she had received a test.
Now that medical examiner's findings are in, the police have issued this statement, the Houston Chronicle reports: "There were no obvious signs of trauma to Roberts however evidence at the scene indicated, at that time, she may have been struck by a vehicle. Further investigation and an autopsy conducted by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences determined Roberts suffered a medical emergency and was not the victim of a hit and run crash." The nature of the emergency was not disclosed.
Roberts’s close friend Dee Dee Watters broke the news of her death, posting on Facebook that Roberts “was called home to glory on Monday.”
Her loss was mourned by LGBTQ+ activists and leaders.
"The loss of Monica Roberts is devastating. She was an unstoppable advocate and a powerful voice, always speaking up for justice and uplifting the trans community," said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
"For decades, Monica has been a fierce leader — bringing light to the injustice transgender people face, especially Black transgender women," said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign. "She leaves behind a strong, and vital legacy — one that every LGBTQ person and ally should work to honor and advance. Rest in power, Monica, and thank you.”
Roberts founded TransGriot 15 years ago. “No reporter this year has covered the breadth of Black trans women’s lives — and very often, deaths — the way this journalist has,” Pride Media CEO Diane Anderson-Minshall wrote in The Advocate earlier this year, when Roberts was named one of the magazine’s Women of the Year.