Remembering Dimitri McKee: Family opens up about loss of Lee football player

The family wants Dimitri to be remembers as a kind and gentle spirit who wanted the best for his family and his team.
Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 11:04 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - It’s been a heartbreaking week for the Lee High School football team, and the family of Dimitri McKee, as they are still coping with the loss of their high school senior.

“It went south very fast,” said Dimitri’s cousin, Marshall Davis Jr. “You always wonder, like man, this kid did so much, and why’d this have to happen. But God has his own way of showing us who’s in control.”

It started last Tuesday evening. McKee wasn’t feeling well at football practice, and after being checked out by the athletic trainers, the family said coach Eric Hudson made the decision to call the ambulance. McKee arrived at the hospital at 8:30 p.m. with a body temperature of 107 degrees.

“He was fine for a little while. He was still responsive and all, but he was kind of making a sound like, some type of breathing sound or something as they was getting him off the ambulance,” said Davis.

McKee was transported to UAB on Wednesday, and after three days in the hospital, he passed away on Friday.

“I think when he got to UAB, there wasn’t no activity left, and I think in between that time right there, and this ain’t nothing the doctors saying, this is what I think, I think his brain just had too much heat,” said Davis. “That long, and your brain, and you have a fever from basically 9:00 to 2 in the morning, that’s a long time.”

The school has since canceled Friday’s season opener against Daphne, while the family is doing their best to be strong for McKee’s mother LaShaunda.

“We’re doing the best we can at this time. Everybody’s just trying to stick together to be strong for her,” said Davis.

As they try to move forward, Marshall hopes McKee will be remembered just as he was: a gentle giant who’s kind spirit touched the lives of so many.

“He was so sincere about making it for his family,” he said. “He always ‘I’m going to take care of all y’all when I make it,’ just smiling. But his work ethic, his personality and the genuine care that he had for his family. Even during tough times, he didn’t let it show.”

There will be a public viewing for Dimitri on Friday at True Divine Baptist Church from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. That will be followed by a balloon release at the Lee High School Practice field at 7:45 p.m.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday at Cramton Bowl at noon.

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