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The daughter of BYU running backs coach Reno Mahe and former BYU volleyball star Sunny Tonga Mahe died peacefully Tuesday evening at Primary Children's Hospital after a weeklong struggle to overcome a tragic hanging accident in the family's Lehi home.

Elsie Mahe, one of the couple's seven children, was 3 years old.

She had been clinging to her life after an accident involving the cord of a window blind on the morning of Nov. 22 caused her to go into severe respiratory distress. She was found by a 4-year-old friend and her mother performed CPR before Elsie was life-flighted to the Salt Lake City hospital.

The child's plight and the difficult decisions facing her parents regarding if and when to take her off life support has captured nationwide attention.

"Our Elsie girl has officially been released to heaven — at least from a worldly, paperwork standpoint," Sunny Mahe wrote Tuesday night. "We feel peace and we are again so grateful for the privilege of being Elsie's parents. She continues to sprinkle love and hope across the world."

An MRI last Friday revealed extensive brain damage, and the family began preparing for her inevitable death by meeting with the hospital's organ donation team on Sunday morning.

However, the family wrote on a fundraising website that Elsie rallied on Sunday evening and began taking spontaneous breaths without the help of a ventilator.

But on Monday the child suffered another seizure and was again no longer breathing without the help of the ventilator, a sign that death was imminent.

Elsie's death enables her vital organs to be donated to a needy recipient, the Mahes said.

"We will be working closely with the donation team for the next couple of days, so we have a few days to postpone making funeral plans," Sunny Mahe wrote. "As we considered the experience of her miraculous breathing and decline, we cannot help but wonder if someone else's horrible accident has not happened yet and Elsie was holding on to wait for them."

Reno Mahe graduated from Sandy's Brighton High School and played five years in the National Football League for the Philadelphia Eagles after a standout college career at BYU and Dixie College.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, corded window coverings are among the top five hidden hazards in American homes. The Window Covering Safety Council recommends parents with young children in their homes check their window coverings for dangling cords and replace them with safer products that are widely available.

Go to for more information.

To donate to the Mahe family, go to the fundraising account at

Funeral services are pending.

Twitter: @drewjay