Madison Small died Tuesday morning, leaving her Virginia community to mourn—and ask questions. The Broad Run High School senior was killed by what WUSA9 describes as an "as-yet unidentified illness," and little more than that is known. On Sunday, there was nothing amiss; father Tim Small says the two played catch. A friend tells the Washington Post Small felt unwell enough by Monday afternoon to go to urgent care, which sent her home. "In the middle of the night, she woke up complaining of headaches and stuff," says Devan Rook, who says that the staff at Inova Loudoun Hospital determined Small should be sent via medevac to Inova Fairfax Hospital. "At that point, she wasn’t doing too well, and several of her organs were shutting down."
The Virginia Medical Examiner's office says it will take a week or more to arrive at a cause of death, leaving Loudoun County public health and school district officials to tamp down fears that whatever killed the softball team captain could be contagious. WUSA9 notes the previous week was spring break and there weren't classes Monday, so even if Small was killed by something transmittable, she hadn't been in the classroom for more than a week. At an impromptu memorial on Tuesday night, Tim Small had this to say: "Life can be short, we found that out today. Make the most of it: love each other. Don't get bogged down in the little nitpicky crap. Put that aside. Life's too short." (Read more illness stories.)