University of Kentucky Student, 18, Dies of Apparent Alcohol Toxicity at Frat House: 'Tragic Loss'

The university said "foul play is not suspected" in Thomas Lofton Hazelwood's death "but police are investigating the circumstances"

lofton hazelwood
Thomas "Lofton" Hazelwood. Photo: Facebook

The University of Kentucky (UK) is mourning one of its students after he was found dead at an on-campus fraternity house.

Thomas Lofton Hazelwood was identified as the student who was discovered unresponsive at the FarmHouse Fraternity on Monday evening, according to a statement by UK.

University officials said police were called to the frat house just before 6:30 p.m. after receiving "reports of an unresponsive student."

When they arrived, authorities discovered Hazelwood, 18, of Henderson, Kentucky, who was a first-year student majoring in agricultural economics and a member of FarmHouse Fraternity.

Hazelwood was immediately transported to UK Chandler Hospital, but despite their best efforts to revive him, he was pronounced dead Monday night, according to UK's statement.

"Foul play is not suspected, but police are investigating the circumstances of his death," the university wrote.

A report from the Fayette County Coroner's Office, obtained by the Louisville Courier-Journal, stated that Hazelwood's cause of death, pending further investigation, was "presumed alcohol toxicity." Coroner officials also listed the manner of death as an accident, per the outlet.

In a statement to PEOPLE, Christian Wiggins, the CEO of the FarmHouse Fraternity, said of the incident: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Thomas 'Lofton' Hazelwood, a new member of the University of Kentucky chapter of FarmHouse Fraternity. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and loved ones as well as the entire community. We have encouraged all members and new members to cooperate with any investigation prompted by Mr. Hazelwood's death."

A spokesperson for the Fayette County Coroner's Office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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In the wake of his death, UK's President Eli Capilouto and UK Vice President for Student Success Kirsten Turner issued a letter to the campus community.

In the note, they referred to Hazelwood's death as "a tragic loss" and mentioned how the teen "was a new member of his fraternity" who was "involved in campus activities and... loved by his family."

"In other words, he had all the promise of youth and the potential that comes with it," the letter read. "There aren't words adequate to convey what so many on our campus feel, the sense of loss and grief, sadness and emptiness."

Hazelwood's mom, Tracey, later spoke with the Lexington Herald-Leader and said her son was the youngest of four siblings who became interested in agriculture after working a summer job on a farm.

"He was an old soul," Tracey told the outlet. "Such a good boy. Loved his family and friends... He was a great, great kid."

In Capilouto and Turner's note, they vowed to find out what happened to Hazelwood, noting that an investigation has already been launched by the police.

"We have conveyed to Lofton's family that we will move as quickly as possible, but also transparently and comprehensively. We won't speculate or engage in conjecture, but we will find out," they wrote.

While the investigation is ongoing, Capilouto and Turner said they were suspending all activities for the FarmHouse Fraternity.

"Life is fragile and precious. Too often, we realize that far too late," Capilouto and Turner wrote. "So, while we cannot heal such a loss or fill the emptiness that we know so many feel right now, we can be there for each other a little more tomorrow than we are today, and we can commit to finding answers. That is the project, as a community, that we will undertake together."

Visitation hours are scheduled from 2 to 8 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, according to the Herald-Leader. A funeral for Hazelwood is expected to follow at noon on Saturday at the church, per the outlet.

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