DeKalb County

High school dance team member collapses, dies during summer workout

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A member of Arabia Mountain High School's dance team has died after collapsing on the track during a summer workout Monday.

[READ MORE: Co-workers 'taking it very hard' after teen dies training for school's dance team]

Hank Purefoy told Channel 2 Action News that his daughter, Elyse Purefoy, a rising senior at the DeKalb County high school, was a member of the school's dance team and was participating in summer training when she passed out while running on the school's track.

First responders rushed the 17-year-old to Dekalb Medical Center, where doctors pronounced her dead.

[GoFundMe page for the family of Elyse Purefoy]

The teen's family described her as a happy and healthy young woman. In fact, her own mother is a nutritionist.

Elyse's father told Channel 2's Michael Seiden that authorities are still investigating the cause and manner of her death. He also confirmed that she completed a sports physical before participating in the training.

“She was a beautiful spirit. We’re going to miss her," Hank Purefoy said.


On Monday evening, friends and family of Elyse gathered outside her family's home in Stone Mountain, where they showed tremendous strength as they honored the beloved teen's memory.

"She was my first real friend that I made on my own. I've known her since first grade,” Lauren Lindsay said.

Elyse's brother, Malik Purefoy, believes there are two possibilities that could have caused his sister's death.

“One was that it was severe dehydration,” he said. "Another one is that she had a heart problem."

Elyse's family and friends are now focused on the positive impact she made in such a short amount of time. The teen also served as the captain of the cheerleading squad and had a 3.9 grade point average.

In a statement to Channel 2 Action News, the DeKalb County School District emailed the following statement:

“The entire DeKalb County School District community, and especially the Arabia Mountain High School family, mourns the passing of a member of the school’s dance team. Our hearts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.”