"The NeoCon community comes together each year to discover what’s new in design. It is an annual tradition for many, one filled with longstanding, enduring and meaningful relationships. This year we lost a member of our community. We are saddened by the tragic death of Jacqui Albertine, an industry professional visiting NeoCon who was injured within the premises of a showroom tenant. Our condolences and deepest sympathies are with her family, friends, and colleagues," said NeoCon in a statement.
The statement comes after saleswoman and industry veteran Jacqui Albertine was killed while attending Chicago's annual office & contract furniture design show earlier in June. Albertine was riding a hanging swing installation at luxury design firm David Edward's booth when she fell backward and hit her head.
Albertine's injury, occurring around noon last Monday the 11th, was fatal. Authorities originally indicated the injury occurred on Tuesday.
Albertine, of Miami Beach, Florida, was attending the NeoCon show on behalf of the company she worked for, Corporate Design Choice, where she sold office furniture for 14 years.
“It is hard to comprehend the tragic loss of our beloved Jacqui Albertine,” company president Shawn MacMullin wrote in a statement. “She was loved by so many friends, customer[s] and coworkers.”
MacMullin said attending NeoCon is usually a reward trip for people in the industry.
“The designers want to go to Chicago to see the new introductions and socialize with business people," he told the Chicago Tribune. "It’s not a requirement. They really want to go."
“It’s almost like, if you’re in the car industry, you go to the national car show. It’s really supposed to be a fun event, and that makes this tragedy even worse.”
Two of Albertine's colleagues with her at NeoCon indicated the accident occurred around noon, but that the Chicago Fire Department didn't arrive at the packed Merchandise Mart's 11th floor until 12:30. MacMullin expressed concern that NeoCon didn't have medical staff present in case of an emergency.
Albertine was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and went straight into surgery. Doctors realized her head injury was so severe that nothing could be done. She was placed on life support until around 4:30. She was taken off life support by her family and pronounced dead.
OSHA has announced it will begin an investigation.
Albertine was a constant professional with many adoring clients, said MacMullin.
“She was here to help in any way and a joy to be around. I worked with her for 14 years, she was like my sister,” he said.
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