US & Canada

US medics suspect student died after choking on gum

California, Pennsylvania, US

A university student in the US state of Pennsylvania who was found unconscious in her apartment is believed to have choked on chewing gum in her sleep.

Shanice Clark, 21, from Toronto, Canada, died at Mon Valley Hospital after being found unresponsive on Sunday night.

Police say a preliminary report from medical personnel indicates she inhaled gum while she slept.

The Washington County coroner says the cause is still under investigation.

Clark was studying communication studies at California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U). The six-foot (1.8m) student was on a basketball scholarship at the university, according to CTV News.

"On behalf of California University of Pennsylvania, I extend my deepest sympathy to all of Shanice's family and friends," university President Geraldine Jones said in a statement.

"She will be missed by her teammates and coaches, her classmates, and by the entire campus community," she said.

Basketball star

Washington County coroner Tim Warco said the cause of death was pending an autopsy and an investigation, according to local newspaper the Observer-Reporter.

But the initial report by medics is that she choked on chewing gum while she slept, local police said.

"Her mom called me and she was crying. I didn't believe her. It was so difficult to believe," her former basketball coach Cleveland Clunis told CTV Toronto.

"I felt that even if she finished university, she could still continue on - maybe play overseas or something like that," he said.

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