SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) – An Upstate high school student has died after a battle with bacterial meningitis, according to a family friend, and the school district is sending a letter from DHEC to other parents to alert them of the illness.
Kevin Harrison confirmed to FOX Carolina that Keegan Johnson passed away Wednesday morning.
Johnson was enrolled at Dorman High School but previously attended Chapman High School. Johnson played football at both high schools, according to Harrison, who said he was Johnson’s little league football and baseball coach. Harrison said he has been with the family at the hospital throughout Johnson's stay and was authorized to speak on their behalf.
Below is what Harrison posted on Facebook Wednesday morning about Johnson’s passing:
“Allison and Joey appreciate all of your prayers and loving support during this journey. This morning, Keegan passed away peacefully. We prayed for healing first, but if that wasn’t Gods will, for Keegan to go to the Lord peacefully. God answered our prayers.
Keegan was full of life and loved by so many. He would be so happy and feel so loved by the outpouring from you all. Keegan was selfless and he wanted to be an organ donor. Now, that life and spark that Keegan shares with us all will now be shared with more people. He will literally be saving lives because of his decision.
Keegan loved the Lord. His eternity is secure and he is resting in the arms of Jesus at this moment. Now, we turn to loving on and praying for Allison, Joey, Kadyn and Kamdyn and their family. There is nothing right or normal about losing a child. However, we serve a God that loves us and our children more than we can imagine. His ways aren’t always our ways but we can trust him.
Allison and Joey will be with Keegan’s earthly body until it leaves for Keegan’s final act of love - giving his organs so others can have life. Please keep them in your prayers and hug your loved ones a little tighter today. Please respect their privacy today.
We will have details of arrangements out later.”
Spartanburg County School District Six issued a statement on Wednesday morning asking for prayers for Johnson's family.
The school district later added that they would be sending home letters from DHEC about the bacterial brain infection that claimed Johnson's life.
Spartanburg District Six's initial statement read:
“We ask you to keep the family of Keegan Johnson in your thoughts and prayers. Keegan has been a part of the District Six community since elementary school. We are heartbroken by this tragedy. We have received phone calls from parents who are concerned about Keegan and his medical condition. District Six has been in contact with DHEC this week and they informed us that after talking with local health personnel, there was no public health action needed. However, out of an abundance of caution, we have contacted DHEC again this morning and are waiting to see if there are any changes to their initial communication with us. If DHEC provides us with any additional information we will certainly pass that along to our families as soon as we receive it. Please continue to pray for Keegan’s family.”
At 2 p.m. the school added this update and a letter from DHEC:
In response to questions from concerned parents, DHEC has provided us with written communication to provide our families. We are also sending home copies with students. Again, our hearts go out to the family of Keegan Johnson. We extend our heartfelt condolences to everyone who was connected with him. #alwaysacavalier #d6family
Johnson’s family said he was an organ donor and that the teen’s organs were being harvested on Wednesday.
Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger also released this statement:
I have received more than one inquiry regarding the death of Keegan Isaiah Johnson this morning. I am told the death was the subject of facebook posts about his passing. Keegan was 17 years old which would place him in a child death category under state law. He was initially treated in Spartanburg then transported to the Greenville Pediatric care unit where he passed. After the media requests, I decided to verify the cause and manner of death. This case was not as a result of foul play or injury per all persons interviewed which means no formal inquiry be made by my office or law enforcement. This death is being ruled a natural manner. Please keep the Keegan family in your thoughts and prayers during their time of loss and grief.