Classmates say Kyle Zuleg had a great sense of humor, was a junior varsity volleyball player and a member of the Wildcat Weekly news program. His sudden death comes at the beginning of Homecoming Week at Neuqua Valley High School.
"It's really crazy that an accident like that could happen so unexpected," said student Carly Montemayor.
Zuleg died after a tree limb snapped and fell on him and 13-year-old friend Tom Harless. Harless, who is expected to be OK, is a student at Naperville's St. Raphael Catholic School.
"Kyle, knowing how great of a kid he was, it was hard to know that. I saw him the day before," said friend Michael Meschino.
The boys were playing flashlight tag in Messenger Woods in a Will County forest preserve around 8 p.m. Saturday. Authorities found the two teens pinned underneath the 2,000-pound tree limb, which fell about 60 feet.
"We're trying to do everything we can to support Kyle's family, to support the students and staff that have worked with him," said Neuqua Valley principal Robert McBride.
Zuleg was taken off of life support Monday.
"As a family, they made a decision that Kyle would be part of an organ donation, and they felt strongly that although he's lost his life, life goes on through that organ donation. And I think that was something very important to his family," said McBride.
Students at the school were being offered grief counseling this week.
"It's really sad, and I feel bad for the family and all the friends," said student Shelby Stewart. "The school helps us out a lot. They take us to a classroom, and they talk to us about it. And if we need help, they help us."
Friends say Zuleg loved the outdoors and had a great sense of humor.
"It's real sad, especially for his parents to have such a young kid die. That's terrible," student Emily Mendoza said.