Toronto

H1N1 confirmed in Toronto teen's death

A 13-year-old minor league hockey player from the Toronto area has died as a result of the H1N1 flu virus.

'We're in pretty big shock,' father of minor hockey player Evan Frustaglio says

A 13-year-old Toronto boy, described as "healthy as can be," has died of the H1N1 virus.

Evan Frustaglio, who played in a minor hockey league, died Monday night at St. Joseph's hospital.

"Toronto Public Health is confirming the death of a … Toronto resident from H1N1," the department said Tuesday in a news release. Public health officials held a news conference later in the day to announce that flu clinics for priority groups would open earlier than planned in the city.

"We're in pretty big shock here losing a 13-year-old boy who was as healthy as can be," Evan's father, Paul Frustaglio, told CBC News.

Evan went from having minor cold symptoms to dying within 48 hours, his father said.

"It just happened real fast. We don't know what to do. We don't know what to say."

Visited clinic

Frustaglio said Evan initially complained of a sore throat and dry cough on Friday night while away at a hockey tournament in London, Ont.

By Saturday night, he had developed symptoms that were more flu-like in nature and when over-the-counter medication wasn't helping with a fever, the family went to a walk-in clinic on Sunday afternoon, Frustaglio said.

"The physician listened to his lungs and assured us that everything is fine," Frustaglio said. "He is breathing normally, continue to give him the med … and keep his fever down and everything should be fine. Less than 24 hours later, my son is gone."

Evan collapsed after taking a bath on Monday and was taken to hospital.

"It hit my son like a lightning bolt," Frustaglio said.

There has been an outpouring of support and condolences from the community, and family members are still trying to collect their thoughts before making funeral arrangements, he said.

Dr. David McKeown, Toronto's medical officer of health, said Evan had a mild case of asthma, but his father disputed that.

"Evan didn't have asthma," the Winnipeg free Press quoted Frustaglio as saying. "He had been prescribed puffers a few years ago when he had a cold."

'You will be missed'

A Facebook memorial page has been set up for Evan and had close to 4,000 members by Tuesday evening.

Posters on the memorial page remembered Evan as a fun-loving, helpful young man, a well-liked student and a skilled hockey player with the Greater Toronto Hockey League's Mississauga North Stars minor bantam AA team.

"R.I.P. Evan. Im so sorry that this happened, you will be be missed so much that it cant be expressed in words. You were a great kid,"  Masha Petrasinovic wrote on the memorial page.

Premier Dalton McGuinty expressed sympathy for the family, calling Evan's death a "terrible tragedy."

Health Minister Deb Matthews called it a "very, very sad case" that emphasizes the importance of getting swine flu shots.

Matthews said Tuesday it's important for both Evan's parents and their children to get vaccinated against the swine flu.

With files from The Canadian Press

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