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University of Arizona Cheerleader Gets Altitude Sickness and Dies on Mt. Everest

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A U of A student died last week as he and several other students traveled to the base of Mt. Everest.

Morgan Boisson, a 20-year-old U of A senior and member of the cheerleading team, was spending the semester studying in China, when he and about 13 other students decided to check out base camp at Mt. Everest.

The group went to the Tibetan city of Lhasa, where students got special travel visas that allowed them to go to the Tibetan highlands by bus and end at the base camp.

After going from Lhasa, which is about 11,000 feet above sea level to Everest's base camp, at 18,000 feet, in less than two days, Boisson started to show symptoms of altitude sickness.

On the first night at base camp, according to the Daily Wildcat, U of A's student newspaper, students reported Boisson walking around disoriented and calling people wrong names.

At 7:30 the next morning, Boisson was foaming at the mouth, non-responsive, and having trouble breathing.

Elizabeth Boisson, Morgan Boisson's mother, told the Wildcat that the students tried to get Boisson down the mountain quickly but about half way down, he lost a pulse.

"The kids tried their best to save him," she says. "They did everything they could."

At one point, one of the students called the mother and held the phone to Boisson's ear. She says she doesn't know whether he heard her.

U of A is holding a candlelight vigil for Boisson on November 6 at 8:30 p.m. at the McKale Center.

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