Pre-existing heart condition claimed student
BY BRETT HAMBRIGHT, Staff Writer
A Franklin & Marshall College sophomore who collapsed on campus in February died of an irregular heartbeat, the Lancaster County coroner said this week.
Eric H. Phillips, 20, collapsed early in the morning of Feb. 10 while hanging out with friends. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Dr. Stephen Diamantoni, county coroner, said Phillips died as the result of a pre-existing heart condition, cardiomyopathy, that affected the rhythm of his heart.
Diamantoni ruled Phillips' manner of death as natural.
Phillips, an Oakland, Calif., native who hadn't declared a major, collapsed about 2 a.m. in the common area of his College House dorm, police reported.
The coroner this week ruled out alcohol abuse as a factor in the death.
"Suffice to say, alcohol did not play a role in this," Diamantoni said.
Diamantoni said he would need the permission of Phillips' parents to release toxicology tests that showed whether Phillips had been drinking.
Phillips also was diagnosed with a seizure disorder, but the coroner said Phillips didn't have a seizure immediately prior to his death.
The coroner described Phillips as a "big guy" who weighed about 300 pounds.
He was active in his college community, as a member of F&M's College One in Four, a men's group that focuses on sexual-abuse intervention. He also was an online radio host for the college station, according to his obituary.
Friends and relatives fondly recalled his "wry sense of humor and booming laughter."