Just one day after 13-year-old Paris Byrd died following basketball tryouts at Murray Middle School in St. Johns County, her mother reflected on the loss of her youngest daughter.
"My baby is gone," Byrd's mother, Erica Lowe, cried. "Last night, I couldn't get any sleep because all I kept thinking about was her. I went back into her room and I know she wasn't in there. I just had to go in there and sit on the bed for awhile and grab her empty pillow."
Byrd collapsed during afterschool basketball tryouts Tuesday. She was transported to the hospital where she died. A preliminary autopsy report said she had an enlarged heart.
Lowe said she received a call from school officials, telling her Byrd wasn't breathing. At the hospital, Lowe kept Byrd on life support long enough so she could say goodbye.
Byrd was the baby of the family, Lowe said. She had five older siblings. Her 14th birthday is next weekend.
"I know I have to be strong for my other kids, but it's hurtful ... it's very hurtful," she cried.
Lowe said she has received an outpouring of support from the community since the tragic incident. She said she always knew her daughter was smart, kind and funny; had an all-around big personality.
To her amazement, she said Byrd was loved by so many around them.
"I didn't know how much she was - the outpour of people - my baby girl had an effect on," she said. "All these people and it was all positive."
A vigil was held for the teen Wednesday in St. Augustine at the Soloman Calhoun Center.
A GoFundMe Page has been set up on behalf of a friend for funeral expenses.
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