Family and friends hold vigil for 13-year-old who died suddenly

ST. LOUIS - Darryl Thomas is heartbroken after his 13-year-old son, Darrell, died. And there’s been no indication why.

“Maybe it’s something bigger behind this but right now I just can’t see what," Thomas said.

Tragically, the father is stuck asking himself tough questions.

“Did we push him too hard? Did he even know something was wrong?” Thomas said.

The dad said the two of them had just left basketball practice when Darrell started complaining about his stomach hurting. Blowing it off as hunger, the dad had plans on grabbing a bite to eat.

“I was like, ‘I’m about to take you to your mom’s house, you can lay back on the car while we on the way,’" Thomas told his son. "While in the car I was on the phone with a friend and he never said a word and two to three minutes I saw him breathing funny and his eyes rolling to the back of his head.”

In a panic, Thomas stopped to get help but unfortunately, the eighth-grader died at the hospital.

“He was everything I was as a kid but more. Everything that I wanted to be that I wasn’t," Thomas said.

It’s unclear what led to the teenager’s death but the sudden loss has left his closest family and friends wondering how a child destined for greatness could be cut so soon.

“Emotions just ran rapid. I didn’t believe it," coach Jordan Lewis said. "I had to go and check for myself and start piecing it together and it took some time to register that this was real.”

The impact Darrell had on people’s lives showed in the amount of love that poured out at a candlelight vigil Thursday evening.

“That was my little brother," said McKinley Williams, a close friend of Darrell’s. "He always going to be here. He’s always going to be in my heart."

As candles burned, friends and loved ones said Darrell’s love for basketball, compassion, and hardworking mentally will shine on forever.

The family has started a GoFundMe to help cover funeral costs, scheduled for Saturday, October 20 at Gospel Power Christian Church (7005 Ascension Avenue). The visitation is at 10 a.m. with the mass to follow at 11 a.m.