Down syndrome student Bubba Hunter who touched hearts across the world when he was crowned homecoming king dies aged 20 from pneumonia
- Travjuan 'Bubba' Hunter was crowned homecoming king in October 2013
- Homecoming queen was Semone Adkins, who also has Down syndrome
- Bubba wore a black tuxedo and beamed widely throughout the ceremony
- But on Friday, he tragically passed away from pneumonia - aged only 20
- West Orange High School revealed devastating news in a Facebook post
- School officials described Bubba as a strong, joyful and friendly student
- Medical professionals say Down Syndrome sufferers are more likely to contract infections because immune systems do not develop properly
A high school student with Down syndrome who captured hearts across the world after he was crowned homecoming king by his classmates in an emotional ceremony has died aged 20.
Travjuan 'Bubba' Hunter, who was awarded the coveted title at Florida's West Orange High School in October 2013, passed away on Friday following a battle with pneumonia, school officials said.
In a Facebook post, the officials wrote: 'Bubba was adored by all of the West Orange Community and was affectionately known as the "Mayor of West Orange"!
'Bubba's strength, joy, and infectious personality made West Orange a better place. Our thoughts are with Bubba, his family, and our dedicated ESE staff.'
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Travjuan 'Bubba' Hunter was crowned homecoming king at Florida's West Orange High School in October 2013. Above, the student is pictured alongside his queen, Semone Adkins, who also has Down syndrome
School officials broke the tragic news of Bubba's passing in a Facebook post (above). 'Bubba was adored by all of the West Orange Community and was affectionately known as the "Mayor of West Orange"!' they wrote
Further details of Bubba's death remain unknown, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Medical experts say people with Down Syndrome are more likely to contract potentially fatal infections, such as pneumonia, because their immune systems have not developed properly.
Bubba hit the headlines two years ago after he and a female student with Down syndrome were crowned homecoming king and queen at the high school in Winter Garden, Orange County.
It was the first time in Florida's history that two students with Down syndrome took the titles.
At the time, Bubba and his queen, Semone Adkins, stood in a football field on October 11 in front of all their cheering peers as they were adorned with crowns and handed bouquets of flowers.
Bubba proudly wore a black tuxedo and Semone stunned in a floor length sparkly gray dress.
On Friday, Amy Van Bergen, executive director of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida, said: 'Bubba was just full of life, and he passed that joy along to everyone he met.
'That pure joy you saw - riding in the homecoming parade, doing the talent show and dancing with his homecoming queen - I will never, ever forget those moments. I can picture him standing in the auditorium … throwing up his arms to the crowd and getting a standing ovation. It was magical.'
Bubba hit the headlines two years ago after he and Semone were crowned homecoming king and queen at the Winter Garden school. Bubba wore a black tuxedo and Semone stunned in a floor-length sparkly gray dress.
On Friday, Amy Van Bergen, executive director of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida, said: 'Bubba was just full of life, and he passed that joy along to everyone he met.' Above, Bubba being crowned
Bubba and Semone were among 12 students competing for the titles at the high school.
'I am so proud of my son,' Janice Morgan, Bubba's mother, told Click Orlando at the time.
She said Semone and Bubba had been lifelong friends, making the moment even more special.
'It was a dream come true, because I always knew that she was going to be something great in this world and this is just the beginning for us,' added Karen McNeil, Semone's mom.
According to Today.com, Bubba and Semone were elected separately, which means one of them could have been awarded a crown without the other. But they won together - and they earned it.
With 3,800 students at the largest high school in the county voting for them each individually, there was no question that they made a glowing impression among their peers.
Bubba and Semone were elected separately, which means one of them could have been awarded a crown without the other. But they won together - and they earned it. Above, Bubba waves to crowds from a car
'When they chose Bubba and Semone for homecoming king and queen, I feel that those kids really proved they are just like everyone else. They can do anything other people can do,' said McNeil.
The duo reportedly stunned their peers days before the election at the school's talent show, as well.
Semone danced to Beyonce's hit Single Ladies before Bubba, in a romantic finale, walked out on stage and put a ring on Semone's finger - as Beyonce sang the lyrics: 'Put a ring on it.'
The crowd cheered wildly when Bubba then ripped open his shirt to reveal a superman outfit.
Teacher Jim Mattingly, who specializes in working with students with intellectual disabilities, told Today.com that Bubba was an extremely friendly young man who was very popular at school.
Speaking in 2013, he said: 'Bubba is just such a popular young man, just so friendly, that everybody just enjoys him, and it doesn’t take long for him to make friends.
'I am so proud of my son,' Janice Morgan (pictured), Bubba's mother, said after the homecoming ceremony. She said Semone and Bubba had been lifelong friends, making the moment even more special for them
Bubba (pictured with his mother in 2013) was born prematurely at 23 weeks, weighing less than three pounds. He was kept in a neonatal intensive care unit for nearly two months before he could go home with his family
'Semone is a little more reserved, but when she went up on stage in that talent show, she just came alive. She put on a great performance. It was just very inspirational.'
Bubba was born prematurely at 23 weeks, weighing less than three pounds. He was kept in a neonatal intensive care unit for nearly two months before he could go home with his family.
During this time, he was required to undergo surgery for a heart defect.
But despite his tough start to life, Bubba grew into a positive, outgoing young man, his family say.
Morgan was too upset to discuss her son's death when approached by the Sentinel on Friday.
The average life expectancy for people with Down syndrome is age 60.
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