A 17-year-old Gilbert High School rising senior who collapsed Saturday during a marching band performance for parents died Wednesday, according to the Lexington County Coroner’s Office.
The student, Michael Gilpatrick, died at 8:56 a.m. at Lexington Medical Center where he had been a patient since last weekend, Coroner Harry Harman said.
An autopsy will be performed today to determine the cause of death, and preliminary results will be released later today, Harman said.
Harman said Gilpatrick, who played trumpet in the school’s 77-member marching band, went into cardiac arrest Saturday while playing with the band.
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“Our hearts go out to the family,” said Lexington District 1 spokeswoman Mary Beth Hill. “This is a terrible tragedy.”
Although people have discussed various possible causes — including heat and humidity, as well as Gilpatrick’s possible consumption of high-caffeine energy drinks — no one will know for sure until autopsy results are known, Hill said.
Meanwhile, she said, the family may make a statement about Gilpatrick’s life and unexpected death as early as today. They were making funeral arrangements Wednesday, she said.
Hill said school authorities are keenly aware that excessive heat and humidity can pose a danger to students.
“We’re awfully vigilant,” she said.
Saturday morning, when the students were outside rehearsing for three hours, they took a break every 15 minutes or so. Plenty of cold water was on hand, and students were strongly encouraged to drink, Hill said.
After the morning session, the band students went inside for several hours, then went back outside for another hour’s rehearsal, Hill said.
Saturday was the final day of a two-week band camp, where band members practiced their football and competitive marching routines for the upcoming year, Hill said.
They had just begun a preview of their routines for parents when Gilpatrick collapsed, Hill said.
Gilbert High School has 936 students and is located north of Interstate 20 and several miles west of Lexington.
Reach Monk at (803) 771-8344.