WATCH: Family and friends are mourning following the sudden death of a six-year-old boy in Port Alberni. Mounties say the boy died yesterday morning and how the boy died is still under investigation. Those who know the boy and the family say they can’t fathom what the boy’s parents must be going through.
RCMP and the BC Coroners Service are investigating after the death of a young child in Port Alberni.
At around 9:30 a.m. on March 13, police went to a home in Port Alberni after they received a report of a six-year-old child in medical distress.
The child was taken to a hospital and did not survive.
"It was really hard to hear," said family friend Miranda Mack. "He was such a happy little boy. I'd see him playing around with all the other kids. He played with my daughter a lot. It's just heartbreaking to know that he's not here."
On Tuesday night, the principal of Haahuupayak Elementary School sent out a notice to parents and guardians stating the school would be closed for the rest of the week out of respect for the family who lost a loved one.
The notice also said the student who passed away was part of the Haahuupayak family and thoughts and prayers go out to the family in their time of need. The principal will be at the school on Wednesday to address any questions or concerns parents or caregivers may have.
The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council released a statement on Wednesday saying they are deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of the young child, who had family connections to both the Ahousaht and Hesquiaht First Nation communities.
"We are told that this young child had a big, beautiful smile and that he touched many lives - his loss will deeply impact many," the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council said in the statement.
"The Nuu-chah-nulth shares in the sorrow of his passing and extend our sincere condolences to the parents, family, friends and community members during this heartbreaking time of loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you."
Port Alberni's mayor says the whole community has been shaken by this incident.
"It's tragic," said Mayor Mike Ruttan. "It's something that no parent wants to go. It has a huge impact on the boys class on his school on the community. As a community our thoughts go out to the family."