Saint Augustine's University mourns loss of student Ronald Cunningham


A candlelight vigil took place Monday evening in honor of Cunningham, who was a freshman football player from Dinwiddie, Va.

Cunningham died at the hospital after falling ill on campus Sunday morning; his very sudden death has left folks shell-shocked.

Cunningham's parents say he was a loved young man, who seemed to have captured the campus' heart early on. A crushing offensive lineman, on the gridiron, a good friend and know teddy bear, everywhere else.

"It was just everything about him. You wouldn't have to know him, he'd just come up to you and say, 'hey, how you doing,' give you the biggest hug and that right there would just change your whole day completely," said T'keya McKay, Cunningham's girlfriend.

A memorial prayer vigil was also held in Cunningham's hometown Monday morning.

As for Cunningham's cause of death, friends and family clearly want to know, but they are not hung up on not knowing, just trying to get through the early days of grief. The vigils were not about how Cunningham died but about how he lived.

The university released a statement Sunday sending condolences to his family.

"On behalf of the Saint Augustine's University community, our deepest condolences and prayers go out to his family and friends," said Rodney Gaddy, chairman of the Saint Augustine's University Board of Trustees.

"We are saddened by the passing of Ronald Cunningham," said Athletic Director George Williams. "He was a member of the St. Aug family, so everyone is grieving right now. He was an outstanding student-athlete and also an outstanding person. He was fun to be around. Our heart bleeds for the family."

The university has also set up counseling services for students.

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