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Star western Minnesota running back dies after fleeing party

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A western Minnesota high school running back died Sunday after fleeing a party northwest of Madison, Minnesota.

Police responded to a report of an underage drinking party at a farmstead shortly before 12:30 a.m. Sunday. When deputies arrived, Michael Anyasike, 18, and others ran, according to multiple reports.

Nearly 12 hours later, the Lac qui Parle County Sheriff's Office was notified Anyasike was missing and eventually found him after searching the area around the party. He was taken to Madison Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to reports.

Further details surrounding his death are not being released at this time.

Anyasike was a key member of the Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks football team, according to the Marshall Independent. The team made it to the Prep Bowl last fall, but lost to champion Mahnomen to finish the season at 12-2. Anyasike rushed for 1,260 yards and had 14 touchdowns last season. He also was a track athlete at the school, the Star Tribune reports.

Blackjacks football coach Corey Larson has fond memories of his go-to running back.

"Loved coaching him and I remember he always had a smile on his face, a huge smile," Larson told the Marshall Independent. "It didn't matter how things were going for him. He was always going to have a smile on his face. He was certainly loved by his classmates, respected by his peers and had a very great sense of humor."

Larson added, “teammates have holes in their hearts that may never be healed. He left them with some good memories that, hopefully, they will be able to hang on to," according to the Marshall Independent.

Friends and classmates turned to social media to express their sorrow, the West Central Tribune reports.

“We’re anticipating the school district will host the service,” District Superintendent Brad Madsen told the Star Tribune. “It will be very big, a very big event.”

Anyasike was planning to attend St. John's University next fall, according to Madsen.

A prayer service for Anyasike is being arranged at Grace Lutheran Church in Dawson.

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