USC water polo player suffers heart attack, dies at 19

USC freshman Jon Walters (center) missed the middle part of the season with an elbow injury, but capped off a championship year with 17 goals.

Exactly one month after helping USC’s water polo team win a sixth-straight national championship, 19-year-old freshman Jon Walters died Wednesday after suffering a heart attack.

The cause of death is unknown, but Lt. Jeff Hallock of the O.C. Sherrif’s department said an unresponsive Walters was admitted to Chapman Medical Center in Orange on Jan. 1. Walters reportedly slipped into a coma while battling pneumonia and kidney failure, but had shown signs of improvement late last week before passing away on Wednesday.

"Jon was a great Trojan, and an outstanding young man from a wonderful family," USC water polo head coach Jovan Vavic said in a statement. "He and his family were loved by all of us on the USC water polo team. I am deeply saddened, and I speak for our team in saying that this is a terrible loss of a friend and teammate. Our prayers go out to Jon’s family in hopes that they find comfort."

Walters, a former Mater Dei High School standout who was named CIF Player of the Year in 2012, finished his USC career with 17 goals, including two in the NCAA semifinal game and two in the MPSF championship game.