ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. - High school seniors Joshua Wilson and Kyle Thies are practicing summer football without their mentor by their side, coach Julien Roy.
Joshua said, "I just love the man. He was like a father to me." Kyle told us, "Everybody loved him and it's just tragic."
The Royal Palm Beach High School assistant coach died over the weekend from an apparent heart attack, leaving behind a wife and a two month old baby.
Students and the head coach Willie Bueno are shocked, especially since he was only 30 years old. "The guy was so young and and for something like that to happen we just couldn't believe it," said Bueno.
How could a man his age die from a heart attack? NewsChannel 5 asked a cardiologist, Dr. Rahul Aggarwal. "We've had patients with a heart attack as young as 26, run of the mill heart attacks. They can have risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol. All it takes is a piece of plaque to rupture in the arteries to cause the artery to shut down and cause a massive heart attack," he explained.
Dr. Aggarwal says rhythm issues with the heart can also cause problems. But there are a few preventive measures to lower the risk.
"Anyone who has a family history of early heart attacks definitely should get checked out by a doctor and really start looking at what are the things they can change. Diet, exercise, if they need to start medications, aspirin or cholesterol medication, " said Dr. Aggarwal.
Coach Roy's family does not know exactly what caused his heart attack, but now they and his players are left with mourning his loss. Student Kyle Thies said, "A great man passed away and the next people that come after us are not going to get the honor of being coached and taught by him."