DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – Loved ones gathered Thursday evening for a vigil as they mourn a South Florida teenager and football star, who was also a son, brother and friend.
"I got to know he is in a better place now,” Bryce Gowdy’s teammate, Jermane Jefferson, said.
Days after the death of the recent Deerfield Beach High School graduate, his teammates are remembering the 17-year-old football star, who died early Monday morning.
“Loving guy, good teammate. He always kept good vibes around him. (He was a) good person,” Jefferson said.
“He never was really down. Even when he didn’t have it, he would always give to people who needed something. Always being a leader,” another teammate, Daterius Lee, said.
Gowdy’s coach, Jevon Glenn said the teen was a standout in academics and even more so on the gridiron.
The teen -- one of the top receivers in the country -- was just days away from beginning a new life at Georgia Tech on a football scholarship. But many were unaware that Gowdy was dealing with several personal issues and just how taxing this new chapter of his life weighed on him.
“Call people, call your family, call anybody. Don’t just hold that stuff in because it can go horribly wrong,” Lee said.
Investigators said Gowdy was struck and killed by a freight train in Deerfield Beach.
His death was ruled a suicide.
Grief counselors and comfort dogs were at the high school campus Thursday, speaking with those who knew the student-athlete.
“His locker was right next to mine. He was a good teammate,” Jefferson said. “The message I learned was: You never know what someone else is going through. So what do you do with that? You always keep good vibes around somebody. Always try to make somebody smile.”
School Board of Broward County Chair Donna Korn and Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie released the following joint statement: “Bryce was an outstanding individual in every way -- on the football field, in the classroom and in life. He had great promise and a bright future. Our hearts go out to Bryce’s mother and his surviving younger brothers for their devastating loss.”