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Georgia cheerleader inexplicably collapses, dies during workout

2019-06-11

Elyse Purefoy died Monday during training for her Atlanta-area high school dance team. (WSBTV)

A Georgia teenager inexplicably collapsed and died Monday while training for her Atlanta-area high school dance team.

Elyse Purefoy, 17, a cheerleading captain and member of the Arabia Mountain High School dance team, was running on the track behind her school when she collapsed out of nowhere, her father, Hank Purefoy, told a local ABC affiliate. He noted that Elyse had finished a sports physical prior to training.

The teen, who was described by her family as happy and healthy, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The cause of death is still under investigation, but Elyse’s brother, Malik Purefoy, thinks she could have died of “severe dehydration,” though ABC News reports the temperature was 84 degrees following a 12-day streak of 90-degree weather late last month.

“Another [possibility],” he explained, “Is that she had a heart problem.”

“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," the school district said in a statement. “Our hearts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.”

On Monday night, Elyse’s friends and family took to her home to honor the late teen.

“She was a beautiful spirit. We’re going to miss her,” Hank Purefoy said of his daughter. “Elyse was just very determined, hard working, she was a 3.9 [GPA] student. Like they said, she had all the accolades. She worked very hard this year; she outworked everybody.”