Wife of Houston Texans GM remembered for childhood advocacy

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With tears in their eyes, two close friends of 49-year-old Tiffany Smith remembered a friend they say was loyal, loving and fiercely committed to bettering the Houston community any way she could.

Smith passed away on Thursday afternoon after battling breast cancer. Her death was confirmed in a statement from her husband of 17 years, Rick, who took an extended leave of absence from his role as the general manager of the Houston Texans after his wife's 2017 diagnosis.

The couple shares three children together.

"Every day, every hour, there is something more that I miss," said Layla Salek, a close friend of Tiffany, who says her children referred to her as their aunt.

In addition to her role as wife and mother, Tiffany's friends say she was very active in the Houston community and devoted her time to different charities and organizations. They also said her true passion was in helping children.

"She understood the platform that she had, and if she couldn't use that platform to support her community, what was the point?" said Vanessa Sobers-Johnston, who met Tiffany several years ago while both were living in Denver.

She says Tiffany served as maid of honor at her wedding.

Tiffany began working with the Children's Museum of Houston more than a decade ago and is listed as a member of the advisory board. Executive Director Tammie Kahn tells Eyewitness News that Tiffany was a powerful and positive force in the community, specifically advocating for children facing adversity.

"She leaves a hole in the city and a hole in our hearts," Kahn said. "Particularly for those who knew her and were lucky enough to know her. She was pure inspiration when she was living and I expect that will be her legacy."

In late 2017, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, but friends say she never allowed the disease to dictate how she would continue to live her life.

"She made a conscious choice to take the journey in a way that only she would do it," Sobers-Johnston said. "It was on her terms and her way."

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