LA GRANGE, Ill. (WLS) -- A college freshman from La Grange died last week after a lengthy battle with COVID-19 at 18 years old.
Michael Lang was a freshman at the University of Dayton in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences. The university said he died after a lengthy hospital stay due to complications from COVID-19.
Katy Lang, Michael's mother, said she had reservations about sending her son away to college in the middle of a pandemic, but she knew he was anxious to start a new chapter in his life.
"I think he just was so excited, typical 18-year-old, to get away from home," Katy said.
He arrived on campus in early August and started having symptoms of COVID-19 by Labor Day. Lang told his parents he lost his sense of taste and smell.
On Sept. 13, a week after having symptoms, Lang returned home to quarantine in La Grange as well as continue his studies remotely.
Michael tested negative for COVID-19 at first, but suffered a cardiac arrest toward the end of September. He was rushed to the hospital and another test found him positive for the virus.
"He had no pre-existing conditions. He had never even been to the hospital. He had his yearly physical, sports physicals," Katy said. "He was a really healthy, young kid."
Lang was still in the hospital when he died last Thursday.
'Hug your kid. Tell your kid every day how much you love them, and I have to say that was something that I was happy I did with Mike," Katy added.
Over the past weekend, the community tied red and white ribbons on trees throughout La Grange to honor Lang. The colors represent University of Dayton's colors. This effort was organized by family friend Katy Clarke.
"When something like this happens, you're just looking for something or some way to show support, and this is a way to do it. So many people came out and wanted to help" Clarke said.
"I'm overwhelmed as a mother, just knowing how many friends and members of this community really loved our Michael," Katy said.
In a statement, university officials said, "The loss of Michael calls our campus community to honor his memory and support those who are affected by his passing."
Students at the University of Dayton are shocked and saddened by the loss. The university has battled a COVID-19 outbreak on campus this semester. There have been more than 1,400 COVID-19 cases since August 10.
Lang's funeral is on Friday. He is remembered as a friendly, outgoing person who loved sports and his family.