Maties student, 18, dies after apparently choking during 'night out'

A first-year Stellenbosch University student has died just days after he apparently breathed something into his lungs and choked, the university confirmed on Friday.

Leandró Hopley, 18, who had been studying a BCom in Management Sciences, was taken to hospital on Wednesday night after he "presumably aspirated", said spokesperson Martin Viljoen.

"He passed away this [Friday] afternoon after a decision was made to turn off the machines that kept him on life support," said Viljoen.

Netwerk24 reported that it was believed Hopley choked on his vomit while lying on his bed after a night out with his residence friends.

Paramedics took around 40 minutes to get his heart going again before he was rushed to hospital in the early hours of the morning, according to the report.

Stefan Janse van Vuuren, the head of student residence Huis Visser, referred all enquiries to the university.

"The university is currently in a process to establish the facts and is requesting various people to provide information," said Viljoen.

"The specific circumstances that contributed to Leandró’s medical emergency [are] not clear, and speculations on social media are not conducive. The university calls on the campus community to respect the family’s privacy."

Viljoen said the university had been in contact with Hopley's parents and there was ongoing communication between the centre for student counselling and development, campus health services and the residence head.

"ER24 presented group sessions for residents on Thursday morning, as well as individual assistance. The residents of Huis Visser were deeply affected by the incident."

The residence house committee expressed gratitude to everyone who had reached out to Hopley's family and friends.

Western Cape police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said they did not have a record of the incident at this point in time.

Stellenbosch students in need of emotional support can contact the centre for student counselling and development on 021 808 4994 (between 08:00 and 16:00) and ER24 on 010 205 3032 after hours.

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