‘Phillip was a gentle giant’: parents mourn the loss of their son who died suddenly after Brandon High School football practice

The Brandon High School community is in shock following the sudden death of 17-year-old Phillip Laster Jr. (Source: WLBT)
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 7:02 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Brandon High School community is in shock after the sudden loss of one of their football players.

Few details have come out about what led to Phillip Laster Jr.’s death, but his family said he spent some of his final moments on the football field doing what he loved.

The sign on Laster’s parents’ front door reads, “faith lives here,” and that’s ultimately what’s going to get Phillip Sr., Ashanta, and their three other children through these next few weeks as they grieve the loss of their son, Phillip Jr.

“I’m speechless that I’m not going to hear his footsteps coming through the door, or ‘Mom, what’re you cooking?’ in his deep voice,” Ashanta said. “He was a lovely kid. I love my son.’”

The Brandon High School football player was just weeks away from starting his senior year, and he was determined to help his team win the state title.

“Phillip has been playing ball with some of those ballplayers since he was about five years old,” Phillip Sr. said. “This was a really exciting thing for him this year.”

Laster’s father said he was on the road when his son collapsed during football practice Monday, and by the time he made it to the hospital, it was too late.

“I called the coach, and he told me it would probably be best for me to just come on in if I could because it was a serious situation,” he said. “On my way, I got the call that they lost him.”

As the Lasters look back on their son’s life, they remember him as a “gentle giant” who was beloved by many.

“It’s just hard to find anybody that has anything bad to say about this guy,” Phillip Sr. said. “The outpouring of love is just a testament to what his life was like. He was a good kid.”

Rankin Co. Coroner David Ruth said Monday that he was taking Laster’s body to the state medical examiner’s office to perform an autopsy.

We will continue to follow this story and let you know what led to his death as soon as the information comes to us.

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