heartbroken parents have paid tribute to their ‘perfect son’, who died without explanation aged just 14, after hundreds of people turned out to his funeral.
Top student Michael Kentzer went to bed at the family home in Gleadless and did not wake up when he was found by his older sister Sophie the next day.
His cause of death remains a mystery and an inquest is to take place.
More than 1,000 people said a final farewell to the popular air cadet, who dreamed of being in the RAF and had just got his first girlfriend, at an emotional funeral yesterday.
Mum Gillian Kentzer, 50, told the Star afterwards: “It is just absolutely devastating.
“He and Sophie got on brilliantly. My husband Jeremy has lost his best friend. Whether we’ll ever find what happened I don’t really know.
“Michael was the perfect son, the perfect brother, the perfect mate. He’d just got his first girlfriend. It’s affected so many people it is unbelievable.
“I don’t think Sophie has really had the chance to grieve because she can’t get past finding Michael.
“This has left a very big hole in the family.”
Michael was found unresponsive by Sophie, aged 15, on Monday December 19. She tried to resuscitate him but he had died.
The Sheffield All Saints Catholic High School pupil had been monitored all his life for a hole in the heart.
But Michael did not let the condition stop him from being fit and active – enjoying the air cadets, Gleadless Explorers, scouts, taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh award and becoming a first aider.
He also excelled at school, taking exams early and running a homework club.
Mrs Kentzer, of Bartle Road, said: “There have been hundreds and hundreds of tributes to Michael and nobody had a bad word to say.
“He was very popular and had a full life.
“His headmaster did the eulogy at the funeral today and he said you can’t comprehend how much it has hit the school because he was so popular.
“There was a mass at the school, just over 500 children came into that hall, and you could have heard a pin drop. He knew and got on with so many people.
“He did more in 14 years than I have in 50.
“It is very raw at the moment, three weeks later and it feels like a lifetime because it was just so sudden.”
It is not known if Michael’s heart condition was a factor in his death although Mrs Kentzer said a post-mortem showed it had ‘gone’ and the possibility of sudden death syndrome had been raised.
At his funeral crowds filled St Joseph’s RC Church in Handsworth and Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium afterwards. The Royal British Legion Sheffield South branch displayed a standard in tribute, as Michael helped with fundraising work last November, and memorials are planned.
Flt Lt Peter Hiley, commanding officer of the 366 (King Ecgbert Squadron) Air Training Corps at Lowedges where Michael was a cadet, said: “Michael was an outstanding air cadet. He did everything with a smile and was always looking to help.
“A very polite, intelligent, caring person, he worked hard to achieve his grades.
“He enjoyed all the cadet activities that he did, especially the flying, and everyone agrees he was a shining light in the squadron.
“He will be missed but not forgotten.”