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‘He was happy & he was loved’: Family remembers Poquoson teen after sudden death

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POQUOSON, Va. - Sandra Belknap says she never knew the impact her 16-year-old son, Michael, had on the other students at Poquoson High School.

Wednesday night she held a stack of cards full of warm messages from the sophomore's classmates.

"I know he was happy and he was loved and he felt confident," said Belknap.

Michael Belknap passed away suddenly earlier in the day after collapsing at school. News 3 learned it happened in gym class.

"He said he felt tired, 'can I lay down?'," said Belknap. "(His) teacher said yes. He laid down on the bleachers. At the end of class a child went to wake him up couldn't wake him up."

Not long after Ronald and Sandra Belknap's only child was gone.

Students tell News 3 Michael -- a tenth grade special needs student -- was 'sweet' and always giving hugs and compliments. His mom says it's these messages giving her comfort during what she calls the worst day of her life.

"The biggest thing I'm going to miss the most is his laughter and him telling me, 'mommy, I love you'," she said. "I loved him with all my heart and soul."

There is no information available on what led to the collapse, but officials say it is not trauma related.

A GoFundMe has been made to help the Belknap family with funeral costs.