The unexpected death of 18–year–old Eddie Key hit family and friends like a wall.
"It just doesn't seem real at all," friend Alex Caruso said.
Key was a freshman football player at Wayne State College. Wayne police say he was found dead Saturday night in his campus dorm room.
An autopsy showed that neither drugs nor alcohol were factors in his death, and police don't suspect foul play. They believe he died in his sleep.
"I can't even sleep just knowing I'll never see him again," friend Lueth Lueth said.
Key graduated from North Star High School last year.
His brother, Jerry Key, and uncle, Eli Brown, spoke with us Monday night.
"His heart was huge," his brother said. "No matter if he knew you for a couple minutes or his whole life, he was going to treat you the same."
His uncle said he was the type of person that could light up any room.
"Family oriented, faithful, just a great kid," Brown said. "That's all I keep saying, a great kid."
Monday night, hundreds showed up at the North 27th Street Applebee's to lend their support. A group of volunteers organized a T-Shirt drive to raise money for Key's end-of-life expenses.
A pre-order of 240 shirts quickly ran out.
"Just seeing the amount of people he reached out to and the amount of support that he has is amazing," his brother said. "It just shows the type of character he had."
Several of his friends remember him as the kid everyone got along with.
"He's just a lovable guy, everyone like gravitated toward him, he could light up a room," Caruso said.
Key was also known for his success on the football field.
John Baade would know, he played on the line with him for three years at North Star.
"Eddie knew he could make it, you know Ndamukong Suh, he wanted everyone saying 'Key' every time he'd be playing," Baade said. "Eddie had big dreams."
A two-year starter, Key was named Second Team Super State twice, and his name is on more than one record board in the high school's athletic hall, including track and field as a discus and shot put thrower.
"He's a very talented young man, very powerful, very strong," North Star head football coach Mark Waller said.
Waller says Key was a presence on and off the field.
"Even though he lived a short life, during the time that he was with us he really impacted and made a difference in a lot of people," Waller said.
Here's Your Sign Screen Printing and Design
Address: 2432 N. 12th Street, Lincoln, NE 68521
Phone: (402) 217 - 5212
$10.00 per shirt, must order between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday
Wake and Funeral Information:
The wake is Friday from 12:00 - 7:00 p.m. at Metcalf Funeral Home
Funeral Services are Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at St. Marks