Beloved Houston tattoo artist Lana Gooding, named best in her field in the 2016 Houston Press Best of Houston issue, died Wednesday at age 36, leaving behind two young sons and a daughter.
The preliminary findings suggest she died of a heart attack, her brother, Nash Wingo, told the Press Friday morning. The family is waiting for confirmation from the Harris County medical examiner's office.
Gooding collapsed at Shaw's Tattoo Parlor in Montrose shortly after finishing a tattoo for a client, Wingo said.
"She was telling her client that she felt really bad and that she...had shortness of breath and chest pains," Wingo said. "She finished [two tattoos] and she collapsed afterwards, and they called 911. She didn't have a pulse. They came and revived her, got her in the ambulance and then she didn't make it."
Gooding was an accomplished artist at a young age, and her patience with her clients was noted in our writeup last year, which pointed out her "bedside manner that keeps clients coming back again and again."
As we wrote:
"She can sense when they're in pain, even after they've said, 'No, I'm fine,' a half-dozen times. In those moments, she pulls away the tattoo gun, offers a kind look and says, "Breathe." She's so calm, collected and quick, it's no wonder Houston's ink-lovers follow her wherever she's set up shop."
Gooding grew up in Pasadena and started inking when she was about 16, Wingo said. Her first jobs were in Houston, followed by stints in Austin. She then co-owned a shop in Chicago for six or seven years.
Wingo was one of his sister's many satisfied clients. After joining the Navy, Wingo and some friends were tattooed by Gooding when she was 17.
"I was just amazed at how good she did," he said. "She was so young....She was already working full-time at a shop and doing just amazing things....The quality was evident even then, when she was very young."
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It's been an especially difficult year for the family — their father, David Bruce Wingo, died from a blood clot earlier this year, Wingo said.
Gooding is also survived by her mother, Cindy; her daughter, Rebecca, 23; and her sons, Farris, six, and Timothy Scott ("T.S."), ten.
We'll have more to come.
Update, October 13, 1:55 p.m.: A gofundme account has been established to help the family with funeral expenses.