Cerritos College student dies after collapsing on campus


Courtesy of Facebook

A photo downloaded from the Facebook profile of Matthew Tautolo, a student who passed away after collapsing on campus on Tuesday. Tautolo, aged 20, was a well-known acquaintance of the Cerritos College football team and collapsed after taking part in a physical education activity.

Cerritos College student Mathew Tautolo, 20, died after taking part in a physical education activity on campus.

According to a statement issued by the college, Tautolo was asked to be excused from the physical education activity when he asked to be excused to pick up some shoes.

On his way to retrieve his shoes, Tautolo collapsed on a field on campus and paramedics arrived at 2:30 p.m. Tautolo was pronounced dead at Coast Plaza Hospital at 3:14 p.m. Details of which field he collapsed on have not been disclosed.

According to ASCC President Jasmin Ramirez, Tautolo was an aspiring football player and was well-known among members of the Cerritos College football team.

Ramirez said, “It’s definitely very sad to lose a Falcon. I know the football community on campus is very distraught right now with the loss of one of its family members.

“It’s a very hard time for our football players and I’m hoping that they’re strong enough to keep family alive within their team.”

Friends of Tautolo asked for donations throughout campus on Wednesday and Thursday for Tautolo’s funeral arrangements.

Business major Jesse Maiava, who was assisting in receiving donations, described Tautolo as someone who as a positive influence for those around him.

“There were times that he’d make you laugh and times he made you mad, but in the times he made you mad, you would also laugh about the things he’d make you mad about.

“He kept everything 100 percent; anything he didn’t like, he’d let you know about it. To sum it all up, he was our brother. Blood couldn’t make us closer.”

Maiava also said that more than $1,000 were raised in donations and he, along with other friends, were selling massages at the Student Center for $10.

He also mentioned that a candlelight vigil was in the process of being planned but wanted to go through the proper avenues to do so.

Another group that is planning on raising funds to assist the Tautolo family is the Cerritos College Triathlon Club, who is planning on selling baked goods, nachos and beverages at Falcon Square on Jan. 31 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We hope that students will come together; we’re a community here, and if something happens, we should help each other out,” Triathlon Club President Christopher De Maree said.

Nursing major John Tuli, another friend of Tautolo’s, reinforced Maiava’s sentiments, also describing him as a brotherly figure.

“We always had a close relationship. When school first started, it was always me and him walking around and he would always get me into classes and pushing me to go to class when I decided to stay home.”

According to Dominic Tiapula, defensive end for the Cerritos College football team, Tautolo was eager to join the team prior to his death.

“He was excited to try out, he wanted to play on the team so badly. He was just excited to play football,” he said.

Tiapula also mentioned that Tautolo had a pre-existing heart condition and did not expect for it to affect him in regard to trying out for the team.

“He was feeling good at the moment, he didn’t think it was going to act up at football tryouts but it just hit him out of nowhere.”

He also mentioned that Tautolo created strong ties with his friends due to his Polynesian heritage and hopes that this incident can create a stronger bond within the Polynesian community.

“Matt was special to all of us because he was Polynesian and we, as Polynesians, manage to stick together.

“I just hope that we don’t forget our culture and we just love one another.”

Funeral arrangements for Tautolo include two separate services at Green Hills Cemetery in San Pedro, one being held on Saturday at 3 p.m. and the other being held on Monday at 9 a.m. and a candlelight vigil which will be held on the soccer field on Thursday from 5-8 p.m.