CHEROKEE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A 13-year-old girl died Friday morning in Shelby, North Carolina from complications from the flu.
According to the Cherokee County Coroner’s Office, Arden Bradley passed away at Atrium Health-Cleveland hospital in Shelby.
According to her obituary, the 13-year-old girl was a student at Gaffney Middle School in South Carolina.
Her death was ruled as a natural death due to complications from the flu.
“She was told ‘You have the flu. Type A,’ whatever that is. And she was told ‘It’s going to get worse before it gets better,'” said her grandfather, Don Johnson. “I don’t think anybody ever anticipated that it would’ve gotten this bad.”
When Arden came home from school sick last Monday, her family never imagined she wouldn’t get over it.
On Thursday, when she still wasn’t feeling well, she was taken to the hospital; but, sadly, she passed away Friday morning.
Arden’s grandfather says life without her will never be the same.
“Always just a joy to be around, especially in a family setting,” he said. “She loved nothing more than to be with her family. She was sort of the glue that held the family together.”
Johnson said he shared a very special bond with his granddaughter who called him “Poppy.”
“She was my heart, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “I took her to school every day of her life and picked her up every afternoon, so mornings and afternoons are going to be tough.”
And he’s not the only one who feels that way. As a seventh-grader at Gaffney Middle School, Arden had a lot of friends.
“She was like my best friend — more like my sister,” Kayla Fortner said. “She was happy, good-hearted, just a really good person to be around.”
Many folks from Gaffney Middle attended Arden’s funeral on Monday, including the principal.
“To say that I know her well, I don’t, which probably means she’s a really good kid because she didn’t get into trouble,” Principal Eric Blanton said.
The school had extra grief counselors, youth ministers, and psychologists on campus for any students or teachers who needed it. And Dr. Blanton said it was extremely difficult having to go before the student body with an important reminder.
“Life is short, enjoy it while you can. Enjoy those little moments together,” he said.
Arden’s family is now hoping this tragedy will help others.
“If you have a kid and they are dealing with this thing called the flu, be very aware and be very careful. Keep an eye on your child,” Johnson said. “Don’t play around with this thing. Take it seriously and go to the doctor.”
Arden’s family says she didn’t have any pre-existing medical conditions.