Cooper University Hospital did not respond to request for comment.
According to a post on the Facebook page titled “Prayers for Cara,” McCollum passed away Monday morning at 4:31 a.m., accompanied by her family in the operating room. Before she died, she made the decision to donate her organs to save other lives, the post said.
“We’ve prayed constantly for a miracle, and we believe God has answered our prayers. Although it’s not the miracle that we first envisioned, it’s a miracle nonetheless,” the post read. “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. Please accept our sincerest thanks for your heartfelt prayers. We all will miss her now that she’s gone.”
University Media Relations Specialist Min Pullan expressed condolences for McCollum’s passing.
“We were very saddened to hear the tragic news about Cara’s passing. We extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends,” Pullan wrote in a statement to the ‘Prince.’
McCollum graduated from the University with an A.B. in English. While at the University, she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta's Epsilon Mu Chapter and Cottage Club.
“Princeton Theta is incredibly sad to hear about Cara's passing,” wrote Theta President Courtney Burke ’17 in a statement to the ‘Prince.’
“While I did not have the pleasure of knowing her myself, I've heard from those Thetas who knew her well about her contagious smile, passion for childhood literacy and impact on campus. Our thoughts and Theta love are with her family at this time,” Burke added.
McCollum won the Miss New Jersey pageant in 2013, and was also a competitor in the 2014 Miss America pageant.
McCollum joined SNJ Today as lead anchor last year.
“The entire SNJ Today family extends its condolences to the many loyal viewers, colleagues, friends, and family of Cara McCollum,” Ken Pustizzi, president of SNJ Today, said in a statement acknowledging McCollum’s passing.
“Whether you had the privilege of knowing her or if you enjoyed her newscasts during her all too brief time with us, you know that her smile determination and sincerity made her a beloved individual,” Pustizzi added.
Pustizzi also wrote that McCollum showed warmth to everyone she met.
“She was a part of our news team family and we are gratified to have worked with her — even for such a short time. We will miss her terribly. Our thoughts and prayers are especially with her parents Rick and Maureen McCollum, her brother Derick McCollum and her boyfriend, Keith Jones, during this difficult time,” he wrote.
A tribute to McCollum was broadcast Monday night on Philadelphia’s WACP Channels 4 and 226 and on Channel 789, according to SNJ Today. The tribute will be archived on the SNJ Today website after Monday night.
In a Twitter statement, Chris Christie, New Jersey governor and ex officio member of the University Board of Trustees, said that he is “very sad to learn of the passing of Miss NJ 2013 Cara McCollum.”
“I love you dear Cara. Your loving smile and sense of humor touched everyone around you. Your laugh was contagious. When we first met, we would both joke that NY and NJ were really from the South (her growing up in Arkansas and myself in Oklahoma),” Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri, who gave lecture at the University last year, wrote in a Facebook post.