POOLER, Ga. (WTOC) - The family of a 15-year-old Woodville-Tompkins High School student is still in shock, mourning his loss after his sudden death last week.
Freshman Xytavious Middleton died suddenly after passing out at school. He was doing something he loved - playing basketball, when he fell unconscious.
His mom said his heart simply gave out, but in his 15-years, the kid they called their gentle giant taught everyone around him lessons in kindness and love.
“He had such a big heart. Such a big heart,” said Delores Middleton, Xytavious Middleton’s great grandmother remembered.
He impacted everyone he met.
“Last Wednesday we had prayer service and our pastor was there and talking about ‘what’s your purpose?’ He said, ‘Mom, my purpose is to help people. My purpose is to give back to disadvantaged people.’ That was his purpose,'” said Lakisha Middleton-Tiller, Middleton’s mother.
His “Pop”, Shannon Tiller, agreed.
“It was really amazing at how loving he was toward others and he would literally give his left arm for other people. If he had spare arms to give, he would have. He was just that loving and just that giving.”
His mother had only one word to describe last Thursday: devastating. She remembers the doctor at the hospital coming to talk to her.
“As he was speaking I was like, well, what’s going to be the update, you know? Waiting for him to get to that part and then he said ‘I’m sorry, Xytavious didn’t make it. He is no longer with us.’”
His little sister is feeling the loss as well.
“We were like twins. We were just super, super close,” said Katavain Moore. "He was my best friend, my brother, my world, my heart.”
They said Xytavious had a big smile and a bigger heart. He had a deep faith in God, he loved his family and protected his little sister, and like many teenage boys, he loved sports - especially the Boston Celtics.
Despite the tragic loss his family says they have peace and are choosing to celebrate his life.
“You pick from the flower garden, you want the best," Delores Middleton explained. "That’s what God did for us. He took our best. Yes, it’s going to hurt. Yes, we’re going to cry, but I believe and nobody can tell me no different that he is somewhere in God’s glory.”
“It was a pleasure having him as long as we had him and he definitely changed all our lives,” Tiller said. "He showed us all how to love and how to be patient.”
The family said everyone is welcome to attend the funeral services, but are asked to wear Boston Celtics colors in honor of Xytavious’ favorite team.
A public viewing will be held Friday from noon until 6:00 p.m. at the Adams Funeral Home on Stephenson Avenue in Savannah, with a visitation to follow at six. Funeral services will be held Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m. at New Greater Owens Temple on Rockdale Avenue in the Liberty City Community.