Tribute held for Oceanside student who died suddenly from heart condition


OCEANSIDE, Calif. — A memorial and fundraiser was held Saturday for a 13-year-old San Diego County student who died suddenly after collapsing and fainting in physical education class.

Marco Antonio Benitez, an eighth grader who attended Madison Middle School in Oceanside, fell ill on the school’s campus last Friday, the Vista Unified School District stated Monday in a letter sent out to the community. He was transported to a local hospital where he later died.

His mother confirmed to FOX 5 via Facebook that Benitez was a healthy teen.

“He had a physical, right before school started and everything was fine,” she wrote in the message. “He did collapse and faint at school during 8th period PE class while playing soccer.”

According to Dr. Matt Doyle, the Superintendent of Schools Vista Unified School District, the official medical report was received this past weekend.

“It indicates the cause was a heart condition that had been previously undetected,” Doyle said. “I share this information with the full permission of the family, who join me in hoping that we can all turn our attention to respectful remembrance.”

Benitez’s family arranged a Celebration of Life tribute Saturday that was held at Mance Buchanon Park in Oceanside.

For those who want to donate to help cover the cost of Benitez’s funeral, visit his GoFundMe.

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