Birth defect likely cause in Irmo High student's death

By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield - bio | email

IRMO, SC - COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A birth defect is likely the cause of an Irmo High School baseball player's sudden death Saturday, his parents say.

Michael Lassiter was taking a shower Thursday morning when his mother, Cynthia, says she found him passed out on the floor.

"He was in the shower too long, so I knocked on the door to get him out when he didn't respond, I went in and found him in the shower and that was really hard," said Cynthia.

Michael died two days later. Cynthia says it was an underdeveloped valve in his heart that may have contributed to his death.

There were never any signs of the defect. Michael had bench pressed 300 pounds only days before.

"Problem is there's no reason to ask for angiogram because there's no reason to believe there was anything wrong with the heart," said Jim, Michael's father.

Cynthia and Jim are merely going through the motions of losing a child now. It will likely be no easy feat since Cynthia says she's still stunned by Michael's death.

"I don't know," said Cynthia. "Can't find the words to describe it. Just stunned that anything was wrong with him."

Aside from a family,  Michael leaves behind a girlfriend of nearly a year and a team who counted on him. The Irmo High baseball team plans to wear his number for the rest of the season.

"Michael lived with a gracious heart," said Cynthia. "He was caring, he was kind, he loved his family, his friends, he loved God."

Soon, the field he left behind will have a memorial with his name, proving it's more than a good catch that makes a player most valuable.

Copyright 2010 WIS. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.