GOSHEN, Ohio — As he prepared for his first day back to school — even posing for a photo on his front porch — there was no sign anything was wrong with Peyton West.
But less than an hour later, the 13-year-old passed away after being rushed to the hospital.
WCPO reports that Peyton was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and needed three open-heart surgeries before his fifth birthday. His health took another turn in March, and he had to have a heart transplant.
According to a Facebook page set up by his family, he’s been doing well other than a few hospital visits and a brief scare, when they thought his body was rejecting the new heart.
Thursday was the first day of the new school year. West’s father, Corey, said nothing seemed wrong as they all got ready to leave home. That changed during the car ride to his son’s school.
That’s when Peyton told his father: “I don’t feel right. Something’s wrong.”
He was rushed to the hospital and passed away.
“He was perfect last night,” Corey told WCPO. “Perfect this morning. And then…it’s just precious. Life is precious.”
A prayer vigil was held in Peyton’s honor Thursday night. The superintendent of his school says he was “truly a joy to everyone’s path he crossed.”
His family told WCPO that he was a huge football fan, and his favorite sports team was FC Cincinnati. He acquired his love for the team from Derek Cisneros — he is the boy whose heart was donated to Peyton.