Final goodbyes said to AR teen after sudden death - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Final goodbyes said to AR teen after sudden death

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Coleman Pearson, 13, died Tuesday from what is suspected to be a rare case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Coleman Pearson, 13, died Tuesday from what is suspected to be a rare case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
ASHDOWN, AR (KSLA) -

A community cries as they pay their final respects to a 13-year-old boy who died a sudden death. Coleman Pearson died Tuesday from what is believed to be the rare virus called Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Pearson's funeral services took place at the Ashdown High School football stadium Friday morning. "Coleman was a good friend. He was very smart and funny. He was always trying to be friends with other people," says Isaac Cross. "Coleman was a good friend to me and I will miss him deeply."

Arkansas health officials say if Coleman Pearson did die of EEE, it would be the first human case of the disease in more than 50 years in Arkansas.

"It's going to bring us down some, but it's also going to make us play harder through our career thinking about what he did for our team and what we can do to make up for it," says teammate Jaden Hill. 

Coleman sported the #32 jersey on the Panthers field. His teammates say they are going to retire the number "He was an amazing person, he always kept our hopes up. Even when we were down, he always kept our heads up," says Hill.

Family says he always inspired others to reach for the sky. "He had a love for his school," says his uncle. "the last words he said were ‘I am a Panther.'"

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