World Bulletin/News Desk
Thousands of people gathered outside a hospital to celebrate the 23rd birthday of Tugce Albayrak, who was beaten by a group of thugs into a coma in Offenbach near Frankfurt city of Germany, hours before her family decided to turn off life support machine.
More than 5,000 people lit candles and prayed for Tugce who bravely responded to calls for help from two young girls when they were harrassed by a group of men in a Mac Donald's restaurant on Nov. 15 and has been in hospital for about two weeks.
Germany's president Joachim Gauck offered his condolences to Albayrak family, saying Tugce "has deserved Germans' respect and gratitude".
"The whole country is mourning with you; she will always be a model," Gauck said.
“While many others looked away, Tugce had demonstrated civic courage in an exemplary manner," he added.
German public was shocked with Tugce's death and more than 100,000 people have signed an online petition asking an "Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany" - the only federal decoration of the country - to be given to Tugce Albayrak, posthumously.
Tugce Albayrak, a German student of Turkish descent was brutally beaten in a parking lot by three men of Serbian origin after she confronted them, responding to calls for help from two young girls aged between 13 and 16 in the toilet area of the restaurant.
She slid into a vegetative state on Nov. 26 with brain hemorrhage but her family preferred waiting for her 23rd birthday for turning off the life support.
Tugce's organs have been donated by her family.
An 18-year-old man was arrested by German police in connection with Tugce's death.