EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - Diane Riportella, who advocated the use of medical marijuana as she fought her own battle with Lou Gehrig's disease, died at home Friday. She was 56.
Her husband, Paul Riportella, said Sunday morning that he and his wife's mother, along with a live-in aide, were with his wife when she died at about 5 p.m.
"I'm comfortable with the fact that she's not suffering anymore. She's at peace," Paul Riportella said.
She was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis also known as ALS, in September 2007.
"She fought very hard and now she doesn't have to fight anymore," he said.
She testified in 2010 before two state senate subcommittees about the difference betweeen marijuana and morphine and the benefits of marijuana to someone in her condition. "When I use the marijuana, I get to be the person I used to be. It makes me forget, it helps with the pain," she told a Press reporter in December 2010.
Paul Riportella said a viewing and funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, Sept. 8, at St. Gianna Beretta Molla Parish, 1421 New Road, Northfield. A viewing will take place from 8 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and the Mass will take place from 10:45 a.m. to noon.
Paul Riportella said his wife was the daughter of Bronx, NY Assemblyman José Rivera.