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Coroner: Heart played role in Southern Indiana player's death

  • Southern Indiana University player's death considered natural, coroner says
  • Jeron Lewis, 21, from Fort Wayne collapsed with 4 minutes left in game, school says
  • Fund for Lewis' month-old son established, university president says in statement

(CNN) -- A Southern Indiana University basketball player had a heart condition that contributed to his death, a coroner said Friday.

Jeron Lewis collapsed Thursday night during a game at Kentucky Wesleyan College and died later that night, Southern Indiana University announced. Although Lewis' head hit the floor when he fell, the impact did not contribute to his death, Davis County Coroner Bob Howe said.

Lewis' death is considered a "natural death," Howe said.

The 21-year-old senior from Fort Wayne, Indiana, collapsed with four minutes left in the game, according to the school's Web site.

The university community is heartbroken with the passing of this outstanding young man.
--Southern Indiana University President Linda Bennett

"The university community is heartbroken with the passing of this outstanding young man," Southern Indiana University President Linda Bennett said in a statement released Friday. "Jeron was an excellent example of a student athlete who strove to be the best that he could be. He will be truly missed, not only by his teammates, but by the university community."

The school has established a fund for Lewis' month-old son, it said.

Lewis played forward and center and scored a career-high 18 points in a December game against Temple Baptist College, according to Southern Indiana University. He collected a career-high 13 rebounds in a January 9 game against Indiana's St. Joseph's College.

Lewis contributed seven points to his team's win Thursday night.