CTVA student dies after playing at open gym

Adolfo Flores

A junior cinema and television arts major died Tuesday night collapsing after playing basketball at the Matadome during open gym. Diron Rivers Jr., 20, was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:12 p.m. at Northridge Hospital.

‘I know he sat down and then passed out,’ said Mischa Cavaye, an eyewitness who was playing basketball at the Matadome. ‘The paramedics performed CPR for at least 10 minutes’hellip;it looked pretty hopeless.’

The Los Angeles County Coroners Office hasn’t assigned an investigator to the case and can’t confirm the cause of death.

In order to play basketball at open gym players must sign a liability form, said Charlotte Cabeza an Associated Students Recreational staff member.

‘We don’t know exactly why but the doctors say that his heart just stopped,’ said Mercedes Burke, 32, Rivers’ aunt. ‘He slumped over and then passed out.’

Burke said he was diagnosed with a heart murmur at 16, but added that doctors told his mom it wouldn’t contribute to his death.

‘Basketball and movies were his life,’ Burke said. ‘He was also very good at imitating people especially our family and he loved to make fun of people he always kept us laughing.’

Demia Jones, 25, Rivers’ aunt, also described him as the family ‘joker’ and agreed that basketball played an important role in his life.

‘Basketball was his life, he lived, ate and dreamt basketball,’ Jones said. ‘His favorite movies were Billy Madison and Kill Bill.’

‘When he wasn’t in basketball shorts you could say he was a preppy dresser.’

Rivers lived on campus his first two years, but commuted to his Inglewood home at the beginning of his junior year.

He is survived by two brothers, three and 18 years old, and his parents Shantrece and Diron Rivers.

The family is accepting donations for the funeral. For further information contact (323) 899-4704.