ULM sends sympathies after loss of 19-year-old athlete

photo courtesy: Semaj Lewis Twitter

The University of Louisiana Monroe family mourns the loss of Sophomore student athlete, Semaj Lewis.

Lewis passed away Thursday, August 10, at the age of 19. The cause of death has yet to be confirmed.

Lewis was a business administration major and a sprinter for the ULM track and field team.

According to an article in the St. Charles Parish Herald Guide, Lewis had originally committed to play football at Stephen F. Austin, but he had a change of heart and signed his letter of intent to attend ULM on a track and field scholarship.

“ULM is a great fit for me academically and athletically. I look forward to competing against some of the best athletes in the nation and having fun while I compete,” Lewis said in the same article.

ULM released a statement on Friday, August 11, expressing their condolences to his family and friends.

“He was a bright student with a wonderful future ahead of him. Our sympathies and prayers are with his family and friends as they cope with this terrible loss,” President Nick Bruno said.

Lewis’ coach also expressed his sadness in a statement saying there were heavy hearts when the team learned the news of Lewis’ death. “His sly smile and quiet sense of humor made him a favorite among his teammates and our staff. I ask the Warhawk family to remember his family in their prayers,” track coach J.D. Malone said.

According to his track and field bio, Lewis was a four-year letter-winner under coach Michael Perniciaro at De La Salle High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lewis graduated from De La Salle in 2016.

He was the indoor 60m dash state champion his junior year and state runner-up during his senior year.

Also during his senior year, Lewis was a member of the 4x100m relay state championship team. Lewis also played football during his high school career.

At De La Salle, Lewis was a standout at cornerback and safety positions. He drew interest from a number of D-I schools, including Tulane, Texas A&M and Missouri. He intercepted three passes as a senior.

Lewis was originally from Hahnville, Louisiana. He was born on October 7, 1997 in New Orleans. He is the younger brother of former LSU Tiger Jai Eugene.

According to Lewis’s obituary, published in The Times-Picayune, ULM students were invited to attend the Funeral Mass at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 13396 River Road, Destrehan, LA.

It was held on Saturday, August 19, at 1:30 p.m.