Philip Dhanens, a former high school prom king from Bakersfield, Calif., died last weekend after drinking at a Fresno State University fraternity pledge party, according to reports.
The 18-year-old Dhanens, a 6-foot-5, 325-pound freshman, was partying at the off-campus Theta Chi fraternity house Friday night into Saturday morning, then died Sunday morning at St. Agnes Hospital, CBS 47 reported (video above). The student's mother told CBS she was alerted by the hospital at 4 a.m. on Saturday that her son had suffered severe brain damage.
Details are sketchy, but the Daily Mail wrote that Dhanens at some point was taken into the frat's so-called "Sober Up Room" and was later found unconscious.
Fresno police are investigating but have not made any arrests. An autopsy and toxicology report on Dhanens, whose organs were donated as he was kept alive on life support, according to ABC News, are forthcoming. The county coroner told the station it suspects the death was alcohol-related.
Fresno State withdrew its recognition of the frat, and Theta Chi officials suspended the chapter, reports say. The frat says it is cooperating with investigators.
At least 1,400 college deaths a year are related to alcohol, notes collegedrinkingprevention.gov. In 2006, Fresno State student Danny Daniels died from acute alcohol poisoning at Phi Gamma Delta's off-campus fraternity house.
After hearing of Dhanens' death, University President John D. Welty mourned the loss of a "life of promise."
"That kind of just goes to show it can happen to anybody,” graduate student Paul Myers told CBS.
“He was a big teddy bear guy," said Tim Maples, his football coach at Garces High School, to the station. "... He always had a smile on his face."