Friends and family members were in complete shock when Steve Campbell, a fourth-year global studies and geography student at Wilfrid Laurier University, and Waterloo native, suddenly passed away on Jan. 12.
He was 23 years old. Just on the verge of graduation, Steve, according to his brother Sean, had aspirations to head out west to study environmental law at the University of British Columbia.
His brother also mentioned that he wanted to volunteer or work further up north in the Yukon territory.
“I’m still kind o wrapping my head around this right now,” explained Sean, who is also a Laurier graduate. His sister, Erica, also attended Laurier.
Known as a supportive and fun person, Steve passed away when he was with his group of friends. No one saw it coming.
Steve’s brother said that a cause of death has still not been determined.
“We don’t know,” he said. “The coroner did a look and didn’t ﬁnd anything, so we were sent to Hamilton for an autopsy.”
“In 80 per cent of those cases they would know what the cause of death was after the autopsy, and 20 per cent don’t. And we were in that 20 per cent that still don’t know what the cause of the death was,” he added.
As a result, samples of Steve’s blood have been sent to research centres in Toronto, but there’s still a three-to-seven-month wait.
According to Sean, cases of foul play, suicide or anything to do with drugs and alcohol have been ruled out.
“When he died, it was quick, it wasn’t because of any of the choices he made; it wasn’t suicide, it wasn’t alcohol,” continued Sean.
“At the same time, it’s absolutely tough for his friends who were there too.”
In a light-hearted response to the numerous tests, Sean added, “Steve always kind of liked pushing the envelope a little bit, and we were joking just that this was his one last chance to kind of ‘stick it to the man.’”
The university has been notiﬁed of Steve’s passing and have been in communication with the Campbell family. Adam Lawrence, the acting dean o students, said that they are putting together a package of messages and information to give to Steve’s family.
“Since Steven’s passing, the dean of student’s ofﬁce has been inundated with messages of sadness and admiration — from students, staff and faculty — regarding Steven,” Lawrence wrote in a statement to The Cord.
Many of Steve’s friends, family, as well as the local community, have come together to celebrate his life.
Sean said the outpouring of support has been overwhelming.
“His friends have been really supportive and have been reaching out,” added Sean.
“So it’s cool to kind of … learn different aspects of him that we didn’t know, which is awesome.”
“It’s kind of a way of bringing people together and hopefully they could ﬁnd something meaningful out of it,” he added.
A gathering in celebration of Steve’s life will be held at the Duke of Wellington on Feb. 2 at 4 p.m., where friends, family and colleagues of Steve can come together and share their stories of him with each other.