Brooklyn 6th Grader Dies of Swine Flu

An 11-year-old girl from Brooklyn has died from the swine flu, becoming the first city student to be killed by the virus, according to the New York Daily News.

Sarah Michel, 11, died on Sunday night. An autopsy on Wednesday confirmed she had the swine flu, according to health officials.

"It's just terrible. I don't know what to say. We're all grieving right now. We're all mourning my little girl," her mother, Rose Noel-Michel told the Daily News.

Michel, who was a sixth grader at Intermediate School 609, had a heart defect, her parents told the News. She was sick and did not go to school the last week in May. Michel wore a mask when she went back to school on June 2, but was sent home and told to see a doctor.

"She was a nice girl," Michel's cousin Marly Noel told the News. "She was an "A" student, a goofy kid. She made people happy. She gives a lot of hugs."

"Everyone started crying, and we couldn't go to our classes," student Brianna Man told The News.

IS 609, in Borough Park, has 159 students in grades six and seven. It shares a building, which was being cleaned Thursday night, with IS 223. Students at IS 609 were told about Michel's death during homeroom on Monday.

"Everyone started crying, and we couldn't go to our classes," student Brianna Man told the News.

Grief counselors will be at IS 609 on today to help students deal with the loss of one of their classmates. Michel's death was one of three announced by city health officials on Thursday, raising the city's swine flu death total to 15.

The World Health Organization declaring a swine flu pandemic Thursday -- the first global flu epidemic in 41 years -- as infections climbed in the United States, Europe, Australia, South America and elsewhere.

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