DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The cause of death for a DeKalb County student who collapsed suddenly during dance practice has been released.

It was during an after school practice that Elyse Purefoy became unresponsive. The Arabia Mountain High School student was just 17 years old.

Her brother told 11Alive he dropped her off at practice around 7 a.m. June 10. He said he noticed she was tired and seemed grumpy, but didn't think anything of it because it was so early in the morning. 

Her family would later blame possible dehydration - and maybe even hazing - as the reason for the teen's death. But an autopsy report by the medical examiner ruled Purefoy's death was from acute cardiac dysrhythmia or an improper beating of the heart. The report also lists an "anomaly" in one of the coronary arteries.

The teen's family told 11Alive that Elyse has passed out during practice in the past, but they didn't believe she had any pre-existing conditions that would have led to her death. 

"The doctors did their best to bring you back but your heart just stopped working," the family wrote in a GoFundMe campaign.

READ: 'A shining star that's gone too soon'

Family members previously said they believed she died because of dehydration, and a former student on the dance team claimed that there was a "Culture of hazing" that existed on the team.

“There were times when you would literally be panting for water,” the graduate claimed.

11Alive reached out to the Purefoy family's attorney for a statement, but the declined to comment on the autopsy results.


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