ERLANGER, Ky. (FOX19) - The Erlanger community is grieving the loss of a 16-year-old who died unexpectedly at St. Henry High School after collapsing during soccer practice.
Matthew Mangine Jr.‘s family says life will never be the same.
Matthew’s dad and grandfather say they want everyone to know he was the light of their lives.
“If you looked up in the dictionary son, it would be his picture and it would be the description of how he lived,” Matthew’s grandfather Bob Mangine said.
He says it was Matthew’s beautiful personality that made life better with him in it.
“His positive energy, his smile, it’s going to take us a long time to forget this,” Bob said.
When Matthew wasn’t hanging out with his family, he was at soccer games or training to be a better player.
“On the soccer field, he was so competitive. He played varsity as a freshman that’s how competitive he was,” Bob said.
Both his grandfather and dad say Matthew was active and didn’t have any health problems.
“He had his physical in January... February and no issues. No health problems,” his dad said.
Flowers, balloons, and thoughtful notes are strung along a fence near Matthew’s high school’s soccer field. His name and soccer number are also displayed on the other side of the field.
His teammate and best friend, JP, stopped by the memorial and says there aren’t enough words to describe how incredible Matthew was.
“He had the biggest heart. He cared about everyone. Anyone needed anything he was there. For me personally, big or small,” he said.