Jackson student collapses and dies during after-school activity - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Parents shocked by 8th graders death on practice field

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A Jackson family is trying to come to grips with the sudden death of their child. The eight grader fell ill Monday at Bailey APAC Middle School and later died.

News of Darius Willington's death is quite a shock to his family and friends. He was practicing for the upcoming football season when he collapsed.

Reginald Willington's heartbreak over the death of his son is somewhat eased by spending time in the teenager's room. Athletic and academic trophies are displayed proudly. A picture of President Barack Obama, his hero, hangs framed above his bed.

Monday Darius' bright life came to an unexpected end when he collapsed on the practice field at Bailey APAC getting ready for the upcoming Murrah football season.

"I got a call telling me they were taking him to UMC. so I rushed down there and when I got there about 30 minutes later he had passed. said Reginald Willington. "When I saw him arrive at the hospital I think he was already gone."

Mr. Willington said Darius had no known medical condition. He was told that the players were just conditioning and strength training.

The 14 year old is described as friendly talkative, happy and quite the athletic.

He made good grades, was into computers and chess, played basketball and played defensive tackle in football.

"I know the kids are gonna miss him, said Willington. "I spoke with him this morning at the school."

"We were friends. He played about every sport, said Bailey APAC seventh grader Courtney Jenkins. "When I heard, I thought they were playing yesterday, but it turned out to be true."

"Duke will be truly missed and he was just a wonderful child, and as his father was saying we were expecting great things out of him," said his great aunt Hattie Chambers.

Darius is the middle son of Reginald and Sharwanda Willington's three boys.

"One thing he told me a long time ago is that he was one of the people that was gonna make a change in the world," added the grieving father. "God wouldn't have taken him if he didn't have a purpose for him."

The Willington family is still searching for answers. They are expecting autopsy results Wednesday which they hope will shed some light on this tragedy.

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