Heart problems aggravated by a COVID-19 infection caused the death of a 19-year-old student at the College of Charleston, according to authorities.
The Charleston County Coroner’s Office determined that Benjamin B. Wills III died in April from an irregular heartbeat and a chronically enlarged heart, according to a report.
A COVID-19 infection was a secondary cause in the death.
Wills was found dead by his roommates around 10:30 a.m. April 11 in the McConnell Residence Hall on the downtown campus.
His body showed no signs of trauma and foul play was not suspected, according to the coroner’s report.
Wills had complained of flulike symptoms for about a week before his death, the report states, so a post-mortem COVID swab was collected.
Chief Deputy Coroner Brittney Martin confirmed the swab came back positive for the virus. She said Wills’ vaccination record was included with his medical records, but she declined to say whether he was vaccinated against COVID-19.
The State Law Enforcement Division launched an investigation into Wills’ death, as the agency is required to do by law when a student dies on a college campus.
SLED spokeswoman Renée Wunderlich said the investigation remained active June 17.
Wills was a Bethesda, Md., resident in his first year at College of Charleston, where he was a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.
Friends and family described Wills on social media as a good-natured and affable young man who was always trying to keep those around him happy.
Wills’ family started a charitable foundation in his name after his death. A fundraising event for the foundation was held this week in McLean, Va. A charity golf tournament is scheduled later this year on Daniel Island, according to the website.
The foundation did not respond to a request for comment.
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