This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Online Memorials Commemorate Burbank High Football Player Following Apparent Suicide
Burbank High School is mourning the death of Matthew Robert Smyser, a reportedly outgoing and popular 17-year-old student who unexpectedly died on Tuesday night in what is believed to be a suicide.
According to the Burbank Leader, Smyser's body was found in his home in Shadow Hills. Grief counselors were sent to Burbank High to help students and teachers cope with the loss. Hector Valencia, Smyser's football coach, told the Leader that the teen was well-liked among his classmates.
“He was very friendly and was polite with a great deal of character. He also had a lot of integrity,” Valencia said. “He was very positive and he was a kid that you could trust.”
Meanwhile, online memorials have popped up to Smyser, many of them suggesting that no one saw the suicide coming. In a Tumblr called messages to ether, a person affiliated with Burbank High School writes:
Last night, one of our students took his life. This tragedy was a shock to his teachers, classmates, and even his close friends- everyone says Matt was always such a positive, social, and loving person. I did not know Matt personally, but the juxtaposition of his outward demeanor and his now apparent inward struggle astonishes and horrifies me. It makes it apparent that we can never truly know what goes on in even the most gregarious of minds, and tells me that this could have been any one of my closest friends.
On Twitter, Smyser's friends are venting their grief, some using the tag #RIPMATTSMYSER. A girl with the handle Collee writes, "I love you Matthew Smyser forever and always. I will never forget you! I wish you were right next to me right now #RIPMATTSMYSER."
Dylan Mersola writes, "Matt u will always be with me and always be loved. u were my best friend and I'll never let u go. Everything I accomplish will be for u❤ RIP."
Cruise off the highway and hit locally-known spots for some tasty bites.
Fentanyl and other drugs fuel record deaths among people experiencing homelessness in L.A. County. From 2019 to 2021, deaths jumped 70% to more than 2,200 in a single year.
This fungi isn’t a “fun guy.” Here’s what to do if you spot or suspect mold in your home.
Donald Trump was a fading TV presence when the WGA strike put a dent in network schedules.
Edward Bronstein died in March 2020 while officers were forcibly taking a blood sample after his detention.
A hike can be a beautiful backdrop as you build your connection with someone.