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Students and faculty at Florida A&M University are set to gather at 6:30 p.m. today to pay tribute to the life of Robert Champion, a drum major for the FAMU Marching 100, who died following the 32nd annual Florida Classic football game on Saturday.

The memorial service will be held in Lee Hall Auditorium, a university spokesman told BlackAmericaWeb.com.

“We are deeply saddened by this loss,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “Our hearts and our prayers go out to Mr. Champion’s family. This is a major loss for our student body, the Marching 100 and the University.”

Champion, a drum major since spring 2010, had performed in the Classic’s halftime show earlier in the day.

“We are in shock,” said FAMU Band Director Julian White. “He was a very fine drum major who was of excellent character and very trustworthy.”

White met with band members early Sunday morning to inform them of Champion’s death.

“This has been difficult and traumatic for the students, faculty and the members of the Marching 100,” Sharon Saunders, chief communications officer and executive assistant to the president of the university in Tallahassee, Florida, told BlackAmericaWeb.com. “Mr. Champion was one of six drum majors, and he held a position of responsibility.”

A 26-year-old music education major from the Atlanta area, Champion had returned to the Rosen Plaza Hotel on a bus with the rest of the band following the game. He threw up in the parking lot and complained of difficulty breathing, according to a statement from the university.

His friends called 911 and administered CPR until the paramedics arrived.

The Florida Classic, which featured Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University, was played Saturday in Orlando. Police in that city said that no foul play is suspected in Champion’s death.

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article courtesy of BlackAmericaWeb.com

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