A South Florida high school football star was just days away from starting classes at Georgia Tech when he took his life, NBC News reports. The death of the promising teen athlete has left his family in dismay, and the public pitching in to help pick up the pieces. To date, a GoFundMe page that was started to help his family pay for funeral arrangements has raised more than $122,000.
His family, including mother, Shibbon Mitchell shared a message on the page, saying, “Our hearts are full of sadness and pain as we try to wrap our heads around the sudden passing.” They added, “In these troubling times, we would like to thank everyone for the loving support, prayers, contributions and kind words for our loving son and brother.”
Bryce “Simba” Gowdy died on Dec. 30. As reported by 11 Alive, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office says the 17-year-old was struck by a freight train around 4 a.m. in Deerfield Beach, Florida. The medical examiner’s office later confirmed that the incident was the result of a suicide.
According to those who knew the teen, he was an “exceptional student,” a hard worker and graduated a semester early from the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. At the time of his death, he and his family were dealing with financial hardships and homelessness. In a now-deleted Facebook post, the content of which was captured by NBC 6 Miami, Mitchell shared that days before her son’s passing he was “talking crazy” about signs and symbols and had a lot of questions about spirituality, asking if his family was going to be okay.
Part of the money raised through the crowdfunding campaign will go towards helping Gowdy’s family get back on their feet, including therapy in the wake of their devastating loss. Before Gowdy passed away, he was living out of a car with his mother and brothers.
“We know many of you have sent questions and concerns about the well-being of our family,” they said on the donation page. “As we grieve, we have received support beyond our belief. We always knew Bryce was loved and adored by many, but this level of support has been a true testament to his legacy. Our love for Bryce is endless.”
Funeral arrangements for the Georgia Tech signee have been set. Friday, Jan. 10 the family is holding a viewing at Deerfield Beach High Auditorium from 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11 his funeral will take place at 1 p.m. followed by a repast at Deerfield Beach High Auditorium. Services are open to the public.