Former UH sprinter Cameron Burrell's dad on son's suicide: We may never know why he died

If you need help, please don't hesitate to reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

Greg Bailey Image
Friday, August 13, 2021
Cameron Burrell, national champion track star at UH, dies at 26
The 26-year-old passed away Monday, according to his alma mater. He was the son of parents who each won Olympic track gold.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The unexpected death of Cameron Burrell, a former champion sprinter at University of Houston and the son of Olympic gold medal-winning parents, has been ruled a suicide.

According to the medical examiner's report, Cameron's death occurred in a Houston parking garage.

The school's athletics department said Cameron passed away on Monday. He was 26.

Leroy Burrell, Cameron's father who also serves as the Cougars' head track coach, issued a statement in the wake of the ruling, offering that he or his family may not know what led to Cameron's passing:

"On Monday evening, our family's hearts were broken with the passing of our son, Cameron, who took his own life.

While much of the world knows Cameron from his accomplishments in competition, he was so much more as a son, a father, a brother and as a man. We love him, and we will miss him forever.

We may never know why Cameron made such a decision. We encourage anyone who may be struggling in their lives to reach out for help. You are not alone, and you are surrounded by more people who love and care for you than you may think in a dark moment.

If you or someone you know is struggling, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK

As our family navigates through this emotional time we will have no further comment and request privacy."

The university has also announced memorial services set for Sunday and Monday.

On Sunday, visitation is taking place inside the A.D. Bruce Religion Center at 3841 Cullen Blvd. on the UH campus, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. A celebration of life service is happening the following day at Westbury Church of Christ at 10424 Hillcroft St., beginning at 4 p.m.

UH also directed contributions to a scholarship fund for Cameron's daughter, Amora, in lieu of flowers. The contributions can be made through a GoFundMe page.

PREVIOUS REPORT: Cameron Burrell, national champion track star at UH and son of Olympic gold medalists, dies at 26

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, you can reach out 24/7 to the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. This hotline is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

The website provides some tips on how to talk to someone who may share feelings of hopelessness or thoughts of suicide.

  • Validate their feelings, letting them know you are listening attentively.
  • Take talk of suicide seriously. Never suggest it is for attention.
  • Ask if there is something they need or that you can do to help. Be prepared for them to say no, but don't end the conversation there.
  • Do not leave a person experiencing suicidal thoughts alone. If you can't be with them, find someone who can, such as a parent, friend or another loved one.
  • Remove objects the person could use to harm themselves such as drugs or weapons.

While some people may openly share their thoughts, others could be suffering in silence. The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention recommends paying attention to these warning signs:

  • Talk of feeling trapped, being a burden, having no reason to live, or facing unbearable pain.
  • Changes in mood, including increases in anxiety, depression, anger, loss of interest in life, or feelings of shame and humiliation.
  • Reckless behavior, including aggression or increased use of drugs or alcohol.
  • Giving things away.
  • Isolating oneself from loved ones, or reaching out to people to say goodbye.

You can find more on prevention and how to help by visiting the GoodTherapy website.

PREVIOUS STORY FROM 2018: UH's Cameron Burrell dedicates 100-meter win to teammate

University of Houston's track team returns to campus.

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