Shock for an Auckland family after 17-year-old son found dead in University of Otago residential college

By Vaughan Elder

An Auckland family are "absolutely devastated" after their 17-year-old son was found dead in a University of Otago residential college.

Law and science student Jack Bisset was found at City College on Cumberland at 2.45pm on Saturday after suffering complications from an epileptic seizure.

His father, Donovan Bisset, who spoke to the Otago Daily Times and shared a statement, said the family - him, his wife and Jack's two younger brothers - were shocked at the news.

"He was a very special boy and it's a very sad time," Bisset said.

The family travelled south from Auckland to "bring him home" and arrived in Dunedin yesterday afternoon.

Jack had recently been diagnosed with epilepsy and the coroner yesterday confirmed he died after a seizure.

"He was only 17 and was having an absolutely wonderful time and loving Dunedin."

Rather than going home for the mid-term break, as many students did, Jack had stayed at the college over Easter to work on assignments.

His father thanked the university, City College and police for the support they had given the family, saying they had "all been fantastic".

He said the family received the "'horrific news" on Saturday that Jack had died in his sleep while in his dorm room.

"He had just started on his next great life journey at Otago studying conjoint law and science.

"It was going well, he was loving Otago and all the challenges of first-year university.

"We are absolutely devastated that our loving and caring son who had so much potential and life yet to live has been taken from us so soon."

The student was found at City College in Dunedin on Saturday.
The student was found at City College in Dunedin on Saturday.

He, his wife Angela and Jack's younger brothers, Henry and James, had travelled to Dunedin and hoped to have him back home in Auckland by Wednesday.

"Jack had recently been diagnosed with epilepsy and an autopsy [yesterday] morning has confirmed that complications from a seizure in the night has taken him from us."

A celebration of Jack's life would be held at the North Harbour Chapel, 185 Schnapper Rock Rd, Albany, on Saturday, April 22, at 12.30pm, followed by private cremation.

Fellow students mourned Jack's death on social media, with one person saying he was a "quiet guy, but a great one".

- Otago Daily Times

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