Updated, 2:15 p.m. Monday, May 07
Updated, 10:15 a.m. Monday, May 07
Close friends and family began sharing their grief on Twitter about suddenly losing a loved one Sunday night. Within a few hours, thousands of people joined them online, sharing thoughts and prayers after the death of 15-year-old Ryan Nash.
The freshman and baseball player was declared dead by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office Sunday night. The medical examiner concluded Monday afternoon that Nash died of a gunshot wound and his death was ruled a suicide.
Nash’s death sparked a massive reaction on Twitter, with prayers and support for him. Some thought early on that bullying may have been a contributing factor, but on Monday sources said that was not the case in Nash's death.
School counselors and social workers were on hand Monday to help students get through what several described as a hard day. Sandburg Principal Debbie Boniface said there was an outpouring of support from students and staff alike on Monday.
"A lot of care among the Sandburg community, for the community, was seen today," Boniface said.
In a statement, Consolidated High School District 230 expressed condolences to Nash's family.
"Today is a very sad day for the Sandburg High School community as we grieve the loss of a freshman student," the statement read. "The school community has rallied to support each other in a very difficult time. We extend our condolences to his family and friends. Our hearts go out to them as they cope with their loss."
As an effort to spread the hashtag #RN20 grew Sunday and Monday, it also served as a way to grieve, share memories and unite people who knew Nash, as well as former Sandburg students touched by his death. The common thread among thousands of tweets was to encourage people to confide their pain with friends and loved ones before making irreversible actions.
My brother can see how loved he was #RN20 thank you all so much for all of your support today
The hashtag spreading was also carried out by hundreds of people who didn’t know Nash, and didn’t have any ties to the school.
I never even knew you, but you have changed me. Ryan you will not be forgotten #RN20
Requests to Justin Bieber, Oprah Winfrey, Katy Perry, Northwestern Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald, Kim Kardashian, LeBron James, rapper Wiz Khalifa, Taj Gibson from the Chicago Bulls, ESPN, Sportscenter and many other high profile accounts were made to share the hashtag. The hope expressed by many was to get the hashtag circulating worldwide by Monday morning, and it reached nationally by then.
Record-breaking runner and Sandburg alum Lukas Verzbicas answered the call to spread word about Nash’s passing through Twitter.
On Monday morning, celebrity and Sandburg alum Bill Rancic also helped spread word.
Here are other thoughts shared by people Sunday night and early Monday morning on Nash’s passing, all of which can be seen on Twitter.
Still in pain and shock ill miss you friend #RN20 never forgotten we have this eagles!
This can't be a temporary change no more bullying fighting anything lets all RESPECT each other as one WE ALL ARE EQUAL #RN20
It's amazing how everyone can put their differences aside and help remember an amazing boy. #RN20
Knowing my best friend he would be doing the same thing if anyone else were in this position #RN20
I'll never say a rude thing to anyone again. you never know what you can do to someone. This ones to anyone I made fun of, I'm sorry#RN20
Return to Orland Park Patch for updates on this story as it develops.