‘A beautiful spirit’: Georgia teen dies after sudden collapse at dance practice

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LITHONIA, Ga. – A 17-year-old dancer at a Georgia high school suddenly collapsed Monday morning and died, according to WSB-TV.

Elyse Purefoy was in the middle of a drill during a summer practice with the Arabia Mountain High School dance team when she abruptly passed out, witnesses said.

Paramedics rushed her to a nearby hospital where doctors pronounced her dead.

Her family wrote on a GoFundMe page:

“Today started just like any other day. I made you breakfast and lunch, and hugged you and told you to have fun at dance training. I smiled as I saw you and your brother get in the car to drive you to practice, but who could have known that you would not be coming home to us.”

The cause of her death is not yet known.

The teen’s father, Hank Purefoy, told WGCL he suspects extreme dehydration, and some of Elyse’s teammates told the the local news station she requested water several times during the practice and didn’t get it.

“She was a beautiful spirit,” Purefoy said. “We’re going to miss her.”

Co-workers and classmates are also mourning the loss of their friend.

“She could just look at you and smile and you can’t help but smile back,” said Kimberly Cuffie, a manager at the Zaxby’s restaurant where Purefoy worked. “I mean her spirit was so light, so pure.”

The DeKalb County School District said in a statement:

“The entire DeKalb County School District community, especially the Arabia Mountain High School family, mourn the tragic loss of a member of the school’s dance team. Our hearts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.”

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