November 30th, 2011
12:22 AM ET

Funeral services set for FAMU drum major

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. ET Wednesday for Robert Champion, a Florida university drum major who died this month in what officials have called a hazing-related incident.

The services at a church in Lithonia, Georgia, come two days after Champion's family said they will sue the school "to get answers."

"We are concerned about the culture of cover-up, that hazing has been covered up at the Band FAMU for generations," the family's lawyer Chris Chestnut said Monday, referring to the marching band at Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University.

The medical examiner has not issued a report on the cause of death of the 26-year-old student. But, Chestnut said, the facts that have emerged to date "point to the fact that hazing was a cause of Robert Champion's death, and it was under FAMU's watch."

"He loved the band - so much, I always called him Mr. Band," Champion's mother, Pam Champion, told reporters of her son. "That was his life."

At a news conference with reporters Monday, she recalled the phone call she received informing her of her son's death.

The call came shortly after her son had called to say he was coming home for Thanksgiving. "I thought it was some kind of mean joke. ... Maybe it's the wrong kid, maybe it's somebody else."

Champion became ill at an Orlando hotel after a game on November 20. He reportedly threw up in the parking lot and started complaining of not being able to breathe, authorities said.

Champion was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

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Filed under: Education • U.S.
soundoff (3 Responses)

    BAND-CAMP ruffians can be so cruel.. hazing is very wrong.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  2. Clang

    Bring out your dead!!!


    November 30, 2011 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. Cal

    Hazing is a pathetic immature "rite of passage" for idiots who laugh at the pain of others. Very sick stuff. I'm surprised they didn't cover it up somewhere along the line. I have no doubt that there are many deaths that didn't get associated with their true cause, like hazing for some. Make it look like something else and you're home free. But I suppose the hazers weren't really trying to kill him, just do such horrible things to him without wanting to kill him. Yeah. They call that torture, don't they?

    November 30, 2011 at 3:41 am | Report abuse |