MILPITAS, Calif. (KTVU) - The parents of a 9-year-old Milpitas boy, who doctors say likely died of a common virus with cold-like symptoms, are warning other parents to be aware that even minor illnesses can turn out to be far more serious.
Tristan Ang died June 28, a week after he struck a fever and complained of sporadic headaches, fatigue and nausea.
Tests ruled out meningitis.
"We are just thinking (he was) too tired, a little bit dehydrated," said his father Mark Ang. "We'd been giving him Tylenol and Motrin. It would go away but not totally, and it would come back."
When the boy became confused and disoriented, his parents rushed him to the emergency room. Several hours later, he died from brain swelling caused by adenovirus, a virus with cold-like symptoms, his parents said. Doctors called it rare. His parents, both nurses, are baffled.
"It's very unexpected. (He was) very healthy and all of a sudden, he's gone," said his mother Belle Ang.
The boy, who just a few months earlier, had finished third grade at Marshall Pomeroy Elementary School, was a black belt in Taekwondo and had won numerous medals in the martial art.
His parents said Tristan was an "exceptional" child who never gave them any problems
"He didn't give us any headaches growing up so that's why we are so heartbroken," his mother said.
For Mark and Belle Ang, they hope sharing their son's story will help other parents be more alert and aware and know that even the smallest symptoms can turn deadly.
"It could happen to any kid," said Belle Ang. "Even the healthiest kid could die or get the virus fast."
The boy's father added: "I guess God needs a warrior up there, it's so hard."
Tristan Ang touched many lives in his short life and those who loved him packed a chapel for his funeral service on Tuesday.
A GoFundMe has been set up for the family to help pay for expenses.