Students at DeKalb County High School in Georgia have been left heartbroken after a member of the school’s dance team suddenly collapsed and died during a summer workout.
On Monday, 17-year-old Elyse Purefoy, a rising senior, was participating in summer training at Arabia Mountain High School when she fainted while running on the campus’ track field, WSB-TV reported.
After her teammates saw that she had passed out, they called for help.
Emergency responders quickly arrived on the scene and the teenager was rushed to DeKalb Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
After news of Elyse’s death broke, the school district released a statement addressing the tragic incident.
“The entire DeKalb County School District community, and especially the Arabia Mountain High School family, mourns the passing of a member of the school’s dance team. Our hearts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time,” the statement, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, read.
Elyse’s death came as a shock to her family, who described her as a happy and healthy young woman to WSB-TV.
Her mother is a nutritionist, the outlet reported.
At this time, Elyse’s cause of death remains unknown and the incident remains under investigation.
Elyse’s father Hank Purefoy explained to WSB-TV that his daughter had even completed a sports physical before being allowed to participate in the summer training.
Elyse’s brother Malik Purefoy told the outlet he believes his sister’s death was due to “severe dehydration” or an unknown “heart problem.”
While the family struggles to come to terms with her death, they are remembering her for her “beautiful spirit” and her many accomplishments.
In addition to being a member of the dance team, Elyse had served as the captain of the school’s cheerleading squad and had a 3.9 GPA, according to WSB-TV.
“We’re going to miss her,” Hank told WSB-TV.
Family and friends of Elyse gathered outside of her home in Stone Mountain on Monday evening to pay tribute to the late teen.
“She was my first real friend that I made on my own. I’ve known her since first grade,” Elyse’s friend Lauren Lindsay said, according to WSB-TV.
The family has since started a GoFundMe in hopes of raising money to cover Elyse’s funeral.
The page has raised over $8,000 at the time of this article’s publication.
“Today started just like any other day. I made you breakfast and lunch, hugged you and told you to have fun at dance training. I smiled as I saw you and your brother get in the car to drive you to practice, but who could have known that you would not be coming home to us,” the page reads.
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