LA HABRA, Calif. — The parents of a 13-year-old boy who collapsed while playing soccer and died recalled their son as a fun, life-loving child during a vigil that was held in southern California, CBS Los Angeles reports.
Felipe De La Cruz’s grieving parents said that he was always smiling and happy.
“He was a gift to us. I thank God, truly, for sharing him with us,” said his mother, Dora.
De La Cruz was playing soccer in La Habra when he collapsed on the field. He later died at the hospital.
According to De La Cruz’s family, he was a straight-A, 8th grade student who loved politics and architecture.
His father, who is also named Felipe, says he is in compete disbelief.
“I was hoping it would be a bad dream, but I woke up this morning and I called my son, and I realized it was true. Maybe, perhaps in a better world or peaceful world. I know he was concerned about peace,” his dad said.
De La Cruz’s father was on the sidelines when his son asked to be taken out of the morning game. Not long after, the boy dropped to the ground and went blue. CPR was administered as paramedics arrived to the scene.
“(I) just don’t understand why it happened. Why it happened to him. Normally when people are older. (He was) healthy, full of life and energy,” his dad said.
The De La Cruz family said their boy showed no signs of health problems and passed physicals.
“We’re still in the dark as to what happened or what condition he had. We don’t know. We’ve requested an autopsy and the doctor said that will help,” Dora said.
De La Cruz’s soccer team played Sunday morning in his honor. They brought huge balloons in the shape of No. 1 and No. 8 to signify his jersey, No. 18.
“He was happy, a very happy boy. He was a wonderful child to have and I thank God for giving him to us for 13 years,” Dora said.