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Georgia Student-Athlete Killed in Crash 3 Days Before 17th Birthday: 'He Had a Wonderful Spirit'

People logo People 10/8/2021 Maria Pasquini
GoFundMe Aaron Kirkland © Provided by People GoFundMe Aaron Kirkland

Just days before his 17th birthday, Georgia high school student Aaron Kirkland died in a car accident. 

Aaron was fatally injured in a crash on Oct. 4 shortly before 9:00 p.m., Gwinnett County police spokeswoman Officer Hideshi Valle told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Additional information has not yet been released.

Per a GoFundMe created by his cousin, Aaron died just "three days shy of his seventeenth birthday." 

"Aaron was my cousin, my favorite might I add," his cousin Abigail wrote, adding that he "had a wonderful spirit, kind heart, and he was amazing at sports."

"I know there are so many people who loved and cared for Aaron and may my prayers be with all of you as I hope your prayers are with my family. Anything helps with this shocking process we are having to go through, we want him to have the best memorial service possible," she continued. "Aaron will never be forgotten."

Aaron Kirkland © GoFundMe Aaron Kirkland

The Gwinnett County Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

GoFundMe Aaron Kirkland © Provided by People GoFundMe Aaron Kirkland

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Aaron's family went on to share their own message on the fundraising page, thanking everyone who had supported them.

"We would just like to thank everyone so far for your donations," they wrote, noting that they were also looking into donating "some of this money to a scholarship or a youth group that he loved."

As of Thursday, the GoFundMe has raised over $30,000.

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News of the high school junior's death was first announced by the Buford High School wrestling team on Tuesday. "The Buford wrestling family is hurting today at the loss of one of our wrestlers," read a message from the team posted on Facebook.

"Aaron Kirkland, a junior, passed away last night in a tragic accident. He placed 4th in state last year at 195lb. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family," the team wrote. "Please keep his family and our wrestling family in your thoughts."

"He was loved and will be missed by all," they added in a separate tribute on Twitter.

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"It's obviously shocking," Buford High School Athletic Director Tony Wolfe, who did not know the student personally, told the Gainesville Times.  

"He had been in Buford schools his entire life, so obviously  he had made a world of connections with students and faculty alike throughout our whole school system," Wolfe added. "These things are never easy, not easy for faculty or our student body."

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