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Georgia Tech football signee Bryce Gowdy's death ruled a suicide

In a tearful video message, his mother offered some insight into what may have led to his death

ATLANTA — A 17-year-old football player who was set to start college at Georgia Tech in Atlanta next week has died by suicide, according to the medical examiner.

According to the Broward County Sheriff's Office, Gowdy was hit by a freight train just after 4 a.m. Monday in Deerfield Beach, Florida. He was taken to the hospital where he died.

The Broward County medical examiner's office ruled the incident a suicide, and the cause of death was blunt force injuries. 

In a tearful message on social media, NBC6 reported that Gowdy’s mother offered some insight into what may have led to his death. 

“A few days ago, Bryce was talking crazy…he kept talking about the signs and symbols he was seeing,” said Shibbon Mitchell in a now-deleted social media video. “He kept saying he could see people for who they really are. He was really happy, though, talking about his future.” 

The nearly 12-minute video was since removed from her Facebook page. In the video, the woman identified by NBC6 as Gowdy's mother reportedly said they had been homeless and the past few days was acting off. 

“He had a lot of questions about spirituality and life,” Mitchell reportedly said, fighting through tears while saying her family was currently homeless and living out of a car. “He kept asking if I was going to be okay, if his brothers were going to be okay.”

Thomas Gowdy told NBC News in a phone interview on Wednesday that his nephew was the head of the household.

"There was neglect from one side [of the family] and too much responsibility from the other side," he said.

Thomas Gowdy said the family was hurt by Bryce's passing. "You could never see this coming, no matter how much you know the person," he told NBC.

RELATED: Georgia Tech football recruit dies week before he was set to begin classes

Gowdy was a wide receiver at Deerfield Beach High School. Georgia Tech said he finished his high school coursework a semester early and was expected to move to metro Atlanta this weekend and start classes on Monday, Jan. 6.

Just Sunday night, Gowdy tweeted that he was excited to head to Atlanta.

The school released a statement Monday saying they are mourning the death of Bryce Gowdy. The Florida native signed a National Letter of Intent to attend and play football at Georgia Tech earlier this month.

"Our entire Georgia Tech football family is devastated by the news of Bryce’s passing,” Georgia Tech football head coach Geoff Collins said.  “Bryce was an outstanding young man with a very bright future. He was a great friend to many, including many of our current and incoming team members."

Family members have set up a GoFundMe account to help with his funeral, the NBC affiliate reported. As of Noon on Wednesday, nearly $65,000 had already been raised. 

Anyone who is struggling with issues is advised to call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK for free confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


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