Jon Walters, 19, the star of the University of Southern California’s national championship winning water polo team has died of a heart attack, his father, Bill, confirmed to The Orange County Register.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He’d Been in a Coma Since New Year’s Day
Walters fell into a coma on New Year’s Day after battling a kidney problem and pneumonia. His father told the media that his son had been showing signs of improvement on January 3 but Jon Walters lost his battle on January 8.
2. His Coach Called Him an ‘Outstanding Young Man’
A great friend, teammate, brother, and son Rest in Peace Jon Walters pic.twitter.com/GqQEH19Isw
— MaterDei Confessions (@ConfessionsMDHS) January 9, 2014
His coach, Jovan Vavic said:
Jon was a great Trojan, and an outstanding young man from a wonderful family. He and his family were loved by all of us on the USC water polo team. I am deeply saddened, and I speak for our team in saying that this is a terrible loss of a friend and teammate. Our prayers go out to Jon’s family in hopes that they find comfort.
You can watch him in action here:
3. He Was a Key Part in his Team’s 2013 Championship Run
During USC’s championship winning season in 2013, he scored 17 goals. According to his college profile, he has also been a member of the U.S. Junior National Team.
4. He Was a California Native
He was originally from Newport, California. He attended Mater Dei High School (Above). In 2012, he was California Interscholastic Federation’s player of the year. That year he scored 126 goals for Mater Dei. His coach, a former Olympian Chris Segesman said about him:
I play against Jon all the time. Jon is a college center. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s fast. There’s no one to compare to him at the center position right now in high school.
An opposition coach, Matt Rosa said of Waters, “He’s just dominant.”
5. He’s Survived by a Loving Family
He is survived by his father Bill, mother Jacque, as well as his brothers Mike, Matt and James as well as his sister, Ali.
Originally, Walters had wanted to be a football player but it didn’t quite work out, in his own words:
I wasn’t the best. I was little out of shape, little chubby, but I kept working and stuck with it and got better over time. I swam for a club swim team every night, and went straight to water polo practice. It’s been tough. I definitely worked at it a lot but it seems to be paying off.
On his official profile on the USC website, it states that he wanted to travel more as he got older and that he was an avid reader in his spare time. After graduation he hoped to go on to law school, Walters would have turned 20 on February 11.
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