LOS ANGELES (AP) — The family of a 17-year-old leukemia patient blamed Cigna Corp. on Friday for her death, saying the health insurance giant's initial refusal to pay for a liver transplant contributed to her death.

"They took my daughter away from me," said Nataline Sarkisyan's father, Krikor, with tears in his eyes at a news conference at his lawyer's office.

The Philadelphia-based insurer had initially refused to pay for the procedure, saying it was experimental. The company reversed the decision Thursday as about 150 nurses and community members rallied outside of its office in Glendale in suburban Los Angeles. Nataline died just hours later.

The insurer "maliciously killed" Nataline because it did not want to bear the expense of her transplant and aftercare, said family attorney Mark Geragos. He did not say when or in what court he would file the civil lawsuit.

The family's "loss is immeasurable, and our thoughts and prayers are with them," Cigna said in a news release Friday. "We deeply hope that the outpouring of concern, care and love that are being expressed for Nataline's family help them at this time."