HE NEVER skipped classes.

Medicine sophomore Kelvin Discutido, a full scholar from the island of Talim in Rizal, did not show up for two straight days when school resumed after the Christmas break. So his classmates thought something was wrong.

Last Jan. 8, the landlady climbed to knock on the windows of Discutido’s room at the second floor of his rented apartment on Rosarito Street. When there was no response, the landlady and other tenants asked barangay officials and the police to forcibly open the door.

Discutido’s body was found lying on the floor at 3:53 p.m. It had turned purple and bloated, his eyes open and looking up, according to the police.

Discutido died of natural causes, based on initial findings. Manila police officer Jonathan Moreno said the cause of death was “acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis” (AHP), a severe form of inflammation of the pancreas, a digestive organ behind the stomach.

AHP is known to have risk factors including gallstones, viral infections, trauma, intake of fatty food, obesity, and metabolic disorders. AHP caused the death of actor Rico Yan in 2002.

AHP is often mistaken for “bangungot,” a condition experienced by a person during sleep, and characterized by increased heartbeat and difficulty in breathing. Bangungot is also known as the Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndrome.

Discutido’s remains were buried in Binangonan, Rizal last Jan. 12

Classmates said Discutido was known to attend classes even if he didn’t feel well, Barangay 471 chief Ruby Perez told the Varsitarian. A tenant living next door first reported foul smell from Discutido’s room, Perez said.

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Moreno said there were no signs of “forced entry” because the room was locked.

Elisa Mahusay, the apartment’s caretaker, said she saw Discutido cleaning his room on New Year’s Eve. Mahusay again saw Discutido last Jan. 5 when she was collecting rent.

The 21-year-old magna cum laude graduate of Medical Technology was the pride of his family and his barangay.

“Matalino ‘yan at masipag, hindi talaga [siya] nag-a-absent,” blockmate John Christopher De Pedro said of Discutido in an online interview with the Varsitarian.

“Galing lang sila sa isang simpleng pamilya. Sabi nga ng father niya, halos dala niya ‘yung buong barangay nila in the sense na kung ano man ang achievement ni Kelvin, parang achievement na din ng barangay nila,” De Pedro said.

De Pedro said he would miss Discutido’s cheerfulness in dealing with life. “Masayahin siya. Kapag nakikita mo siya every day sa school, lagi lang ‘yan nakangiti. Halos bilang ‘yung mga days na nakita namin siyang malungkot o nakasimangot,” he said. Jon Christoffer R. Obice

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