Family friend reacts to the death of University of Houston track star Cameron Burrell

Cameron Burrell (Source: University of Houston) 

The death of University of Houston track star, Cameron Burrell, also known as the fastest U.S. collegiate athlete, shocked everyone Monday, August 9.

"It was Tuesday morning. One of the track coaches came in and let me know that Cameron had passed the night before. My thought immediately went to, I have two children myself, I couldn’t get my head around how Leroy and Michelle must be struggling to get through this, and immediately thought what we can do to help," said Mike Pede, who has known the Burrells for decades off-campus and on at the University of Houston Athletic Department.

"He was everywhere. He was on our student advisory committee in athletics. Everybody looked up to Cameron Burrell as a student-athlete."

RELATED: Former University of Houston sprinter, NCAA national champion passes away

Not to mention his 8-month-old daughter, Amora. A picture posted by her grandfather, Leroy, is hard to digest. She sitting on the bed watching her father’s memorial on Sunday.

"She is the cutest thing you have ever seen. You just feel terribly sorry for her that she will grow up without Cameron," said Pede.

RELATED: Family members, UH Track Coach release statement after star athlete passes away 

While we may never know what led to Cameron taking his own life, Pede wants to make sure student-athletes, especially during the time of the pandemic, know there’s help available.

"It has become a lot more difficult and the signs are a lot more difficult to see because they are by themselves and they are in their own apartments and homes. They are not around as many people. I think we all just have to do a better job of paying attention to what those signs may be."


If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 (Crisis Text Line). 

Click here for the warning signs and risk factors of suicide. Call 1-800-273-TALK for free and confidential emotional support.