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Matthew Hammerdorfer tribute: Friends, family mourn after teen athlete's death (PHOTOS)

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The shocking death of Fort Collins' Matthew Hammerdorfer, seventeen, after being stricken during a rugby match is echoing nationwide. After all, he's the second teen athlete with an enlarged heart to die of cardiac arrest in a week, following Michigan's Wes Leonard, whose story made ESPN. But as experts debate how to prevent such tragedies, Hammerdorfer's loved ones mourn on the We Love You Matthew Hammerdorfer Facebook page.

Here's a small sample of the tributes posted on the page's wall:

dang matt, i remember like it was just a couple years ago at lesher junior high. we always found things to talk about and that's what made you a good friend. you were always there when i had to say something and you always listened. we went to separate high schools then i switched to poudre and we reunited. you taught me how to become... a better soccer player and i appreciate it a lot. cant believe you wont be on the fields with us anymore, but at least i know you will be watching us from above. these words can not explain what all of us are going though. you probably don't want us to cry or to be sad, you would want us to be happy 'cause you were always happy. this isn't a goodbye only a see you soon until we meet again... rest in peace matt

My prayers are with your family an may u R.I.P.

I will miss you a lot. I have not seen you very much in the past few months, but I would always think about you every now and then. I just saw your parents a couple of weeks ago, and my thoughts are with the both of them. especially your dad, on his way home. I will miss you very much M-Dolphin.

Our thoughts and prayers to the family, friends and teammates of Matthew Hammerdorfer. -- The Seattle Rugby Club family

As a fellow rugby player, my heart goes to Matthew and his family and friends. It makes me glad to know that Matthew lived live to the fullest. I wish more people would do the same and hope that Matthew will serve as an example to others.

Whenever I saw you in the halls you always had a huge smile on your face! I wish I could have gotten to know you better. Rest in peace and know you are very dearly missed.

Friends and family members have also posted photos of Hammerdorfer that portray him as a big, handsome, happy-go-lucky kid with a real zest for life. Page through them below:

More from our News archive: "Concussion lawsuit by ex-Colorado Crush kicker Clay Rush an attempt to protect athletes at every level, attorney says."

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