Natick High School students and administrators are mourning the death of Justin Bailey, a high school senior who died in his home last night.
According to an email sent out by Natick Superintendent Peter Sanchioni, Bailey passed away unexpectedly from natural causes.
Sanchioni wrote that Bailey was a member of the varsity hockey team, and was well-liked and respected by his classmates and teammates.
Baileys mother works as the Kennedy Middle Schools cafeteria manager. He has two brothers who also attend Natick public schools.
Varsity hockey coach Karl Infanger said he talked to Bailey on Tuesday.
“You couldn’t ask for a nicer kid,” Infanger said. “I meet with the kids after every five games to go through what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, what to work on and that stuff. And Tuesday, I met with him – and this will resonate with me for the rest of my life – he said, ‘I know I’m not playing, I know why I’m not playing, I just want to win. I want to help out any way I can, but I just want to win.’
“And to hear that it from a senior, it puts things in perspective. You can’t say a bad thing about him. A super nice kid who was always smiling and laughing.”
Infanger said he learned of Bailey's death from the boy's father.
The coach said he met with his team on Thursday and will meet with them over the next few days, but Saturday’s scheduled game with Milton has been postponed. The Natick girls' squad was also supposed to play Milton, but that game has been postponed as well.
Wednesday's game against Needham was also postponed because of Bailey's death.
Infanger said there was some chatter among the players about creating a uniform patch to remember Bailey, but no decisions have been made yet.
“The kids were one big family,” the coach said. “They really pull for each other and we’ll get through this together. But that sense of invincibility that a high school kid has can come crashing down pretty quick.”
Sanchioni said guidance counselors at all Natick school buildings will be available for any students or staff members experiencing grief and sadness due to Baileys death.
On behalf of all the Natick Public Schools community, our deepest sympathy during this time of great sadness goes out to Justin's friends, family and teachers. He will be greatly missed, Sanchioni wrote.
Natick Police confirmed that they responded to a medical call last night, but could not comment further.
Cara OBrien, spokesperson for Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leones office, said they are not investigating the death, as it does not appear to be suspicious.
Friends of Bailey started a Facebook page dedicated in his memory, and many users have changed their profile pictures to a red image with the number 17 Baileys playing number in hockey and text that reads, #17 Justin Bailey/Forever in our hearts/Never forget.
As of 3:15 p.m., 771 Facebook users have liked the page.