HARRISONBURG, Va. – The James Madison Softball Coaching Staff has released a statement following a tragic loss in the JMU community.
JMU softball player Lauren Bernett, 20, passed away on Tuesday.
A day prior to her passing, the young star athlete had just been named the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the week after she went 7 for 9 with seven RBIs, four runs scored and a home run.
Her death was later classified as an apparent suicide by Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office; however, authorities say her death is still under investigation.
On Friday, the JMU Softball Coaching Staff released the following statement on her death:
“Finding the words to describe what our team is going through right now feels nearly impossible. However, we want others to know the impact Lauren had on each of our lives, and each member of not only our softball family but the entire JMU community.
Lauren had one of the most genuine, old and trusting souls. Her huge heart showed grace and kindness to everyone she ever met. She was mature beyond her years and always put others before herself, wanting everyone around her to be happy. Her smile and laugh were radiant - lighting up every room, bullpen or dugout she walked into and making everyone around her instantly smile.
She had dreams of becoming a veterinarian and was trusted by animals in the same way she was trusted by the people in her life. Many members of our team found comfort in knowing Lauren would always be there for them on a tough day. She was a staple of our program who we all loved so much.
To say she will be missed is an overwhelming understatement. There will be a permanent void in our hearts and our hope is to live out her legacy and make her proud each and every day.
This week has also reminded us of the incredible generosity inside the softball community. We can't overstate how appreciative we are as you have reached out to us and continued to honor Lauren and her memory.
We again want to thank everyone for their caring thoughts and support during this time and we continue to ask for privacy as a program as we grieve and support one another.
Fly high Lauren, your JMU Softball family will forever love you."Coach LaPorte, Coach Herzig, Coach Libby, Coach Wayne JMU Softball Coaching Staff