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Story highlights

Heather Heyer was a paralegal who assisted clients through bankruptcy

Her father says she held passionate beliefs, wanted to help people

(CNN) —  

Heather Heyer dedicated her life to standing up for those she felt were not being heard, her family and friends said. She died fighting for her beliefs and campaigning against hate.

“She was very strong in what she felt and she spoke with conviction,” Heyer’s close friend and co-worker Marissa Blair told Chris Cuomo on CNN’s “New Day.”

“She would never back down from what she believed in. And that’s what she died doing, she died fighting for what she believed in. Heather was a sweet, sweet soul and she’ll never be replaced, she’ll never be forgotten.”

Thirty-two-year-old Heyer was killed Saturday when a car plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters gathered to oppose a “Unite the Right” rally of white nationalist and other right-wing groups. Nineteen others were injured in the incident.

A 20-year-old man from Ohio, James Alex Fields Jr., is charged with second-degree murder in Heyer’s death.

Passionate about helping people

Heather’s parents recalled their daughter’s lifelong zeal for justice.

Heather’s father Mark Heyer said his daughter had strong convictions and was passionate about helping people.

“She died trying to bring about that purpose,” he told CNN on Sunday. “She was always passionate about the beliefs she held, she had a bigger backbone than I did,” he said.

02:30 - Source: CNN
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People fly into the air as a vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. The nationalists were holding the rally to protest plans by the city of Charlottesville to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. There were several hundred protesters marching in a long line when the car drove into a group of them. (Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP)
PHOTO: AP
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Her mother, Susan Bro, addressed Fields, the man being held in custody.