PELL CITY – A Duran North Junior High School student died after collapsing in his homeroom class Thursday morning.

St. Clair County Coroner Dennis Russell identified the victim as Jalin Puckett, 13.

He said Puckett died from an existing heart condition.

Russell said Puckett was pronounced dead at 9:46 a.m. in the emergency room at St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital in Pell City.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family,” said Michael Barber, superintendent of Pell City schools.

He said the eighth-grade student was a friend to many at his school.

“He was loved,” Barber said. “It’s heart-wrenching.”

Barber said counselors and local ministers were brought into the school Thursday to help students and faculty members cope with the loss of the eighth-grade student.

He said counselors will remain on campus as long as they are needed to counsel and comfort those who knew the youngster.

“Not only is this a loss for his family, but for the school family as well,” Barber said.

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