Fountain Hills community rallies around family struck by tragedy — (

SSRI Ed note: Popular teen, good student with bright future, loves sports, prescribed antidepressants after brother's accident death, dies from overdose.

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Posted: Thursday, December 22, 2016 10:24 PM EST  Updated: Dec 22, 2016 10:56 PM EST

By Jeff Van Sant

Friends of the family organized the special memorial service at the local high school on Thursday. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)


A memorial service was held in honor of a young man named Jacob DeGroote.

He was kind of the all-American kid. He loved sports playing football, soccer and basketball. He was a great student who looked forward to a bright future.

On Dec. 15, tragedy struck. Jacob took medication for depression and anxiety. His family says he had trouble sleeping and took more than prescribed and stopped breathing.

He left behind a devastated family. His mother Mari says the world lost a great man.

“He would light up a room with his smile. He had the most beautiful smile,” Mari said.

The family isn’t new to tragedy. In July of 2015, Jacob’s older brother Michael died in an accident in Alaska.

“It gives me comfort knowing my two boys are together in Heaven. I know that,” Mari said.

While dealing with all of this, the family hasn’t been alone. They’ve received a massive outpouring of support and love from the Fountain Hills community.

Friends of the family even organized the special memorial service at the local high school on Thursday. Friends and family formed a big heart in the middle of the football field. It’s a true testament on how Jacob was viewed by others. He was loved and still is.

“The outpouring and love and compassion from this community and friends is just overwhelming and I couldn’t ask to live in a better place or have better friends,” Mari said.

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