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Sudden Death of NYC Teen Boy at Basketball Practice Was Due to Heart Condition: Medical Examiner

What to Know

  • 16-year-old Queens boy who died suddenly after collapsing during basketball practice the day after Christmas died of natural causes, ME says
  • Lenny Pierre was at practice inside John Bowne High School when he collapsed around noon, police said
  • The medical examiner said Pierre died of a "cardiac arrest due to anomalous origin of right coronary artery from the left sinus of valsalva"

The 16-year-old Queens boy who died suddenly after collapsing during basketball practice the day after Christmas died of natural causes, the city's chief medical examiner announced Wednesday.

Lenny Pierre was at practice inside John Bowne High School when he collapsed around noon, police said. Responding officers found him unconscious and unresponsive.

EMS transported Pierre to New York Presbyterian Hospital-Queens, where he was pronounced dead.

According to the medical examiner's office, Pierre died of a "cardiac arrest due to anomalous origin of right coronary artery from the left sinus of valsalva." The manner of death was classified as "natural."

In a statement, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said: “This young man was born with anatomic anomaly. A major vessel that brings blood to the heart was in an abnormal location and resulted in his cardiac arrest.”

Mother Edna Georges said her son was already on a machine by the time she arrived at the hospital.

"He said while he was playing, they saw him a little shaky," she told News 4 in an emotional interview Dec. 26, 2018. "They told him have a seat. He said he was lightheaded. Just moments later, he collapsed."

Following her son's death, Georges said her son had no health problems, and that he took a physical before getting into basketball.

"I have a healthy boy," she said. "I don't know what went wrong, to tell you the truth."

"He was not allergic to anything," she said. "He was not on any medication. Healthy as you could imagine."

Georges described Pierre as a "very sweet" teen who listened to her and never gave her any trouble -- a "healthy, young, talented athlete" who loved basketball, both playing it and watching it on TV.

The family had a wonderful Christmas, she previously said, then he texted her the morning after Christmas to tell her he was going to practice. She responded, "OK, be careful."

"I truly will miss my son forever," said Georges. "That's a big hole in my heart. That's my firstborn. Even if I have another son, it will never be Lenny, my sweetheart, my sweet son." 

Neighbor Steven Corbett previously described Pierre as a great kid.

"It's very shocking to me, unbelievable, sad," he said. "He was just a great person to be around."

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