‘He was my hero’: Friends and family honor life of Robert King

KOLD News 10-10:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Mar. 26, 2022 at 10:31 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Saturday, friends and family came together to remember 24-year-old Robert King, who lost his life when his car was stolen by a woman who left a drug facility the same day.

This happened Monday, March 14 on Ina Rd. near Shama Wing Rd.

Detectives say the Robert was clinging to the hood of his own car when the suspect, 35-year-old Lia Lara, took off down Ina, reaching speeds of more than 60 mph.

At just seven months old, Robert received a life-saving liver transplant. The doctors and nurses who took care of him at the hospital as a child sat among Robert’s friends and family at his memorial to celebrate his life and legacy.

“I’m going to miss the hugs. I got hugs every day. I’m going to miss my hugs. I’m going to miss his smile,” said Robert’s grandmother, Pennie Kidder.

Now those smiles, hugs, and laughter are frozen in time in pictures of Robert. At just 24 years old, the family says he survived and overcame so much. He was in and out of the hospital constantly as a child. Strings of beads belonging to Robert were on display at his memorial – each bead a symbol of his health journey.

Kidder said “His beads were his pride and joy. He got them for every finger prick, every IV, ever liver biopsy.”

Robert was the strongest boy she ever met.

“He was my hero. I want the community to know just how much he was loved and how much he loved others. He loved deeper than any kid I know,” she said.

Robert’s mother, Kristen Dougall, a nurse at Banner UMC, met Robert in the hospital when he was just three months old, suffering from a rare condition called Biliary Atresia. She eventually adopted him.

“Continue to watch over us as we continue to navigate here without you,” Dougall said. We are the lucky ones to have been able to call you ours. Thank you for being the glue to hold of these people here together.”

Robert’s family said he had a big impact on the community, from helping design the pediatric unit at Diamond Children’s Medical Center, to raising money for the hospital and organ donations.

Loved ones will remember him for his kind heart, his courage, and his contagious love of Star Wars.

Robert’s family is asking anyone in the community who would like to honor Robert, to donate to Beads of Courage in his name or to Diamond Children’s Medical Center for their future play zone.

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