RIVERSIDE, Calif.—Students left memorial candles on the soccer field of a K-12 school campus in Riverside where a 12-year-old boy playing soccer collapsed. He later died at a hospital.

Christopher Thornberry was trying out for the soccer team Thursday when he collapsed at Riverside Christian Schools, which encompasses preschool through high school. Classmates tried to help him up, to no avail, and coaches began CPR. His mother, who worked at the school, rushed over.

"And his mom told him, 'I love you.' You could tell that he heard her," secondary school principal Vance Nichols told the Riverside Press-Enterprise ( http://bit.ly/1bJWRI1). "Then he went out again, and they lost him."

The seventh-grader was pronounced dead at the hospital, and an autopsy was planned to determine the cause.

Later Thursday, classmates overflowed the campus' chapel to remember the boy who carried around a Nerf football and placed mementos on the soccer field. The next day, they placed candles at the base of the electronic marquee with the message: "Chris Thornberry 2001-2014 Thank You, for a life well lived!"

"Chris is absolutely authentic. This is one of the greatest kids you'd ever meet," Nichols told the newspaper.

Funeral plans were incomplete.

Classes were canceled Friday after Chris' death, but the campus will reopen on Monday. Youth pastors and counselors will be on hand. Students planned to pray and write sympathy cards.


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Information from: The Press-Enterprise, http://www.pe.com