The family of a Sheffield student who died suddenly in her sleep have paid tribute to a teenager who was ‘beautiful inside and out’.
The body of Olivia Mae Woodward was found in The Exchange Works, her Sheffield Hallam University halls of residence On Arundel Street, on Sunday. Olivia, aged 19, died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, known as Sads – a condition that causes a fatal cardiac arrest with no prior warning of heart trouble.
The teenager had just begun her second year of study towards a degree in international events management.
Her mother Lisa said: “The overriding comment people have been saying is that Olivia was just beautiful inside and out. She was so caring and kind, she was just a lovely girl.
“She was so happy to be going back to university, she absolutely loved it. “She was looking forward to meeting all her friends again and her boyfriend, Charlie, is also there.
“She loved the social side of it, to go out and party, and she loved to dance.
“She loved her family and friends and was so loyal.”
Having just returned to university for the second year of her studies, Olivia had ambitions to get into wedding planning. Lisa added: “We’ve had so much support from Olivia’s friends and everyone at the university has been so supportive as well.” Olivia’s parents Lisa and husband Stuart had only dropped their daughter off on September 17, helping her to sort out her room.
Olivia later texted them, thanking them for their help and saying she ‘loved them all’.
There was nothing on the night of her death to suggest anything out of the ordinary.
Lisa said: “I received a text from her at about 11pm to say she’d met a couple of new flatmates, that she was having an amazing time and they were going to go out to a nightclub.
“One of her friends got a bit too drunk that night. Olivia took him back and looked after him. She got him some food and put him to bed before going to her room. I sent her a message the next day but didn’t get an answer.”
Olivia died suddenly and unexpectedly from Sads after her heart stopped. Her parents have vowed to raise awareness of Sads and raise money for the Cardiac Risk in the Young charity, or Cry.
Lisa, of Brentingby, near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, said: “Olivia was perfectly fit and active and she walked everywhere.
“Sads isn’t something people are aware of which is why we want to raise awareness of it. We just want people to know about it.
“I think all teenagers and young people should get checked for it.”
Olivia’s boyfriend Charlie and younger sister Annabelle have set up an online fundraising page in her memory to raise money for Cry, which has already raised more than £2,600.
The charity says every week in the UK at least 12 young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions. Eighty per cent of these deaths will occur with no prior symptoms.
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