SPRING VALLEY – The death of 17 year-old Hall High School football player Daniel Lule was revealed Friday evening.
Bureau County Coroner Janice Wamhoff said that Lule had an enlarged heart and died of “natural causes.” Wamhoff said the teenager died Wednesday of “nothing suspicious.”
In a press release sent out Friday, Wamhoff said, “The doctor said his heart should have weighed no more than 450 grams and Daniel’s was 780 grams. This would have caused his death. More extensive tests are going to be done on the heart to see if there were any more problems. The enlarged heart was not something that would necessarily be found on a routine health check-up.”
Friday evening the high school and town came together in a walk from John F. Kennedy School over to the Lule home, a walk that spanned six blocks. Around 5:30 p.m., dozens started gathering at the school to show respect for the family.
“It’s absolutely amazing what’s going on,” school secretary Debbie Evelhoch said. “But I wouldn’t expect anything less.”
17-year-old Daniel Lule died Wednesday at football practice. Lule would have started his junior year of high school next week. He collapsed early that afternoon.
“I was in disbelief,” Evelhoch said. “I was in shock when I was told one of the football players went down, and then they took him to the hospital.”
Friday players from the team spoke out for the first time. Varsity players wore white shirts in honor Lule. They also led the walk to the Lule home.
“The last few nights I haven’t gotten any sleep,” teammate Matt Briddick said. “Everybody else would agree with me there.”
The team was followed by dozens of students, parents, and supporters. Once the team got there, the Lule family stood outside, waiting for them to put down flowers at their front yard.
“We’re going to miss him,” teammate Miguel Villaro said. “He was my best friend.”
The memorial took about an hour and a half. About 500 people showed up to pay their respects. The mother stood outside the front yard, hugging everybody that came up. The dad stood inside the home and watched.
The visitation for Lule is Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. in Spring Valley. Services are being held the following day at 11 a.m.