Weak, “confused” and “hardly able to move”.
The final hours of the Australian academic who died climbing Everest have been revealed.
Monash University lecturer Maria Strydom first began feeling ill from altitude sickness as she descended from the summit after achieving her goal to climb to the top of the world’s highest mountain.
Strydom’s sister Aletta Newman told the Herald Sun that her sister died holding her husband Robert Gropel’s hand.
Newman said knowledge that her sister had not died alone had brought her family a sliver of peace amid their ongoing grief.
“The idea of that gives us comfort,” Mrs Newman said.
The pair, who had trained extensively for the expedition, began their Everest ascent more than a month ago.
“He’s shattered, he’s broken. If it’s hard for us, it’s worse for him. He’s lost his life partner,” she said of Mr Gropel.
In the days since Strydom's death, her mother Maritha Styrdom has taken to Facebook to publicly demand answers.
Watch Seven News' coverage of the Strydom family in the days following Maria's death.
The heartbreaking comments were posted beneath the media statement released by Trekking company Arnold Coster Expeditions yesterday morning.
"Why weren't her family informed?" Maritha said.
"I'm her mother and it's the first word from anyone from any of your companies."
Her mother said the family had heard about their daughter's death in the Tibetan press.
"We saw through the Himalayan a times post that my daughter died," she said.
Expedition leader Arnold Coster detailed on Facebook the final moments of the lecturer's life and how her condition deteriorated before the rest area known as "The Balcony."
"Halfway between the South Summit and Balcony she was hardly able to move and became very confused," Coster said.
Coster said her husband and several sherpas worked "all night" to bring Strydom back to their established camp after she spent 31 hours above it.
Coster said the lecturer was offered medical attention when she arrived.
"We managed to stabilize her that night with medicine and oxygen and Marisa was able to walk out off the tent herself the next morning," he said.
But he went on to describe how the next leg of their descent proved too difficult and that she collapsed only two hours out of camp.
Coster said Mrs Styrdom's husband tried to retrieve the ailing academic without success.
Her family is still hoping to retrieve her body from the mountain.