Wayne State College Football Player Eddie Key III Passes Away at 18

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IFebruary 9, 2014

Foreman High School wide receiver Michael Hill lines up during an unofficial practice at Chopin Park, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 in Chicago. The strike in the nation's third-largest school district could have unintended consequences for Chicago students whose college dreams are tied to their actions on the playing field. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)
Brian Kersey/Associated Press

Football player Eddie Key III was found dead in his dorm room at Wayne State College on Saturday evening.   

Updates From Thursday, Feb. 13

According to Jonathan Edwards of The Lincoln Journal Star, the coroner reported that Key died of pneumonia:

Eddie Key died from pneumonia, autopsy results show.

Key, an 18-year-old Wayne State football player, died when bacterial pneumonia filled his lungs with fluid, Deputy Wayne County Amy Miller said Thursday in a news release.

Key, who grew up in Lincoln's Hawley neighborhood and went to North Star High School, was found dead in his dorm room Saturday evening.

Key probably died in his sleep sometime Saturday morning, Miller said the day after he died. Someone last saw him alive around 4.

Key graduated from North Star in 2013 and was named to the second-team All-Nebraska football team. He received Super-State honors as an offensive lineman his junior and senior years. He was a defensive end on Wayne State's roster.

Severe infection can cause pulmonary edema, a buildup of fluid in the lungs, according to the National Institutes of Health. The fluid causes shortness of breath.

Original Text

The Associated Press, via USA TODAY Sports, reported that authorities in Wayne, Neb., are investigating the 18-year-old's death, with an autopsy scheduled to be done on Sunday.

However, a Wayne County attorney told the Lincoln Journal Star's Robby Korth that "no foul play was suspected and that it is unknown whether drugs or alcohol were factors."

Key attended Lincoln North Star High School in Nebraska. He played offensive and defensive lineman, where he earned a Second-Team All-Nebraska and Super State selections as a senior, according to the Wayne State website.

"He was just a great kid," North Star coach Mark Waller said, via Korth. "It's a tragic situation. We loved Eddie and we're going to miss him."

The 6'2", 270-pound freshman played defensive end for Wayne State during the 2013 season.

According to Wayne State director of college relations Jay Collier, via Korth, the school has received an outpouring of support for Key.

"It's never anything easy to process whether you're a college of 3,600 students or 36,000," Collier said. "But we're overwhelmed with the support we're receiving."

University of Nebraska freshman Jerald Foster and Ohio University freshman Casey Sayles—among many others—offered their condolences via Twitter:

His former high school grieved, as well:

According to the AP report, Collier is providing counseling for anyone who knew Key or lived in his dorm. 

Judging by the endless support and long list of kind words that have been said, Key was a talented football player on the field and a respected young man off of it. This is something no one should ever have to deal with, and as more details about his death are revealed, hopefully his family and friends are able to gain some closure. 

We'll be sure to keep you updated as more becomes known regarding this heartbreaking news.