A middle school student from Cedar Rapids has died from malaria after visiting his home country of Liberia.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that 15-year-old Shawn Nupolu recently reunited with his family in Africa after eight years. After returning to Cedar Rapids, he became sick. He was eventually hospitalized at University Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. According to a message on the Metro Youth Football Association's website, "Despite the doctor's best efforts, Shawn lost his battle with the disease and passed away." Nupolu likely contracted the disease while overseas.

The Metro Youth Football website states that Nupolu was born in 2008 in Liberia and moved to the United States with his family. He was an 8th-grade student at Roosevelt Middle School and planned to attend Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School in the fall. Metro Football reports that Shawn's nickname was "Cheetah", because he was always the fastest kid on the field. His passions included playing soccer and football. Coaches and teammates remember him as being kind, compassionate, humble, and hard-working.

The Metro Youth Football Association has created a fundraising page where you can donate to help support the Nupolu family during this difficult time. You can find the link to the fundraiser HERE.

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