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Leida Acevedo

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On July 15, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo posted on Twitter that he was in Los Angeles to be by his mother's side.

"She may not survive the night," he wrote.

She did, and the next day she moved to hospice, where Acevedo said she was resting comfortably.
On Friday, after he spent nearly three week's by his mother's bedside, she died.

"On August 2, 2013, 1243 PST, we commit our rock, our love of our lives to our Heavenly Father," Acevedo tweeted. "Thank you all for your love and comfort."

Since arriving in California, Acevedo regularly tweeted about his mother, Leida, changing his Twitter avatar to a photo of him when he was younger, wearing a white tuxedo and a pink boutonniere, holding her hand.

"Listening to mom's breathing in the middle of the night," Acevedo said July 18. "The rhythm of her waning life will be unforgettable & somehow greatly comforts me."

"Mom's arms & legs are starting to feel cold & stiff," he said July 30. "As her hour nears heaven prepares her new home."

Acevedo's daily updates came as Scott Simon, host of NPR's Weekend Edition, kept his own digital record of his mother's final days.

"Worst: Telling our daughters," Simon tweeted after she died. "Oldest was flinty, youngest sobbed. But guess which one cried long into the night…"

Simon's mother entered a Chicago hospital July 21 and he started tweeting the experience of sitting and sleeping at his mother's bedside when it became apparent she would not be leaving the intensive care unit, NPR reported this week. His nearly 1.3 million Twitter followers read along.

When Simon said he knew the end might be near because it was the only day in his adult life that he'd seen his mother and she didn't ask, "Why that shirt?," 425 people clicked "favorite."

Acevedo has a fraction of Simon's followers - just more than 5,000 - but many of them sent a steady flow of encouragement, condolences and prayers in 140 characters.

On July 19, he marked six years since he was sworn in as the city's police chief from his native state.

"Thank you @Austin_Police & people of ATX for the privilege!" he said.

From California he has also shown signs online that he's keeping his hand at the helm of the department, retweeting video footage of a murder suspect and discussing public safety with other Twitter users.

Three days after a fatal officer-involved shooting last week, Assistant Chief Brian Manley, who is acting as chief in Acevedo's absence, started a press conference by telling reporters that the chief was "closely monitoring" the shooting and in daily contact with the department about ongoing investigations into the incident.

Online, Acevedo offered the public a chance to monitor his life, and his loss.

"Like all families we left the den, but love of our lioness has summoned us together for her to reinforce her first life lesson," Acevedo said Friday morning. "Family FIRST."
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Aug. 3, 2013
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