Published On: Mon, Mar 9th, 2015

MIT student Christina Tournant dead after suicide jump at Tampa airport garage

The former valedictorian of Osceola Fundamental High School and MIT freshman Christina Tourant killed herself late Thursday night and shocked communities in Florida and in Massachusetts as the news made headlines over the weekend.

“I know this news will have a profound effect on every one of us,” MIT’s president, L. Rafael Reif, wrote in a campus wide email. “This is a moment when we need each other, a moment for caring, understanding, and kindness. We will come through this tragic period together.”

Christina Tournant

Christina Tournant

Christina jumped fro the parking garage at Tampa International Airport. after she sent a text message: “I love you, mom.” The teen’s note reportedly expressed regret at her inability to deal with her health problems: a nervous system disorder causing pain and circulatory problems.

“Sorry,” she told her mom, “I couldn’t keep fighting.”

Reif wrote that, before going on leave, Tournant was a resident of Maseeh Hall and was a member of the swim team and the sorority Alpha Phi.

MIT students gathered on Saturday for a vigil while her mother made funeral arrangements in Seminole Florida.

“It was physical pain that definitely led to emotional pain,” her mother Tava Wilson said at her home, via Tampabay.com, fighting to keep her composure. “She was very stoic and didn’t want to let on how horrible she was feeling . . . She was really stoic to a fault.”

Wilson detailed the illness further for the press, raising awareness of the horrible disease:

Wilson said her daughter suffered from postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, a disorder of the autonomic nervous system. The illness, which often afflicts young women, causes a range of debilitating symptoms, from an increased heart rate to circulation problems and, in Christina’s case, severe pain and digestive problems. The syndrome, whose cause is not well understood, can leave sufferers completely disabled.

The Boston Globe noted that “The news of Tournant’s death comes several days after another freshman died. Campus officials have said they believe that Matthew Nehring took his own life early Sunday…Since last March, the school has mourned the deaths of one other undergraduate student, a professor, and four graduate students, one of whom was enrolled at Harvard but studying in a joint program with MIT.”


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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

Displaying 4 Comments
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  1. Dd says:

    Florida pushes pills for those weak in mind to addict. They don’t prescribe proper medicine for the strong. Most backwards system. MONEY MONEY MONEY. My heart bleeds for her family. Unfair!!!

  2. anonymous says:

    What pisses me off is that communities are in shock. Where were those communities, especially medical communities, when she was alive and desperately needed any treatments that would reduce her symptoms and make her life bearable?
    Where were those communities when she needed emotional support and understanding? Even family members and close friends refuse to understand what POTS people going through, because we $%& look well. The social security judges that supposed to give us a chance to live through this in hope that cure or treatments is found if not today betray us, because we look so normal.

  3. Mary cochran says:

    I am so ANGY… As a POTS patient and a physician assistant I can see both sides..but cannot “see” this VERY small venue.. She was never given/offerered the MANY treatments.. I do not ble her parents.. I was at ends meet and in “the Mecca” of medicine.. Was SO mistreated at MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL MEDICiNE HOSPITAL!!! Yes!! The 11th greatest wonder of the world… Have been told about that…. “If MGH said u r ok then u should be in the psychiatric ward”.. Seriously.. The oh word of MGH.. Also heard the Oh So sacredness of mgh “you have cancer” and 3 weeks later actually cholecystitis.. Forget it.. Just too much and no one gives a shit any ways

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