‘Bright, talented and ambitious’: Mason graduate, Northwestern freshman dies after heart transplant

Simone Scott, 19, died Friday after virus infection caused heart issues.

Communities in Mason and Chicago are mourning the loss of a student who was “poised for some really amazing things.”

Simone Scott, a 2020 Mason High School graduate and freshman at Northwestern University, died Friday morning at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after a virus infection resulted in a heart transplant, according to the school district and media reports.

Scott, 19, died after contracting a virus infection that was not COVID-19, said Tracey Carson, spokeswoman for the Warren County district.

The freshman had a heart transplant on May 23 after feeling ill for about a week, Carson said. She said the transplant went well initially, but pneumonia may have contributed to Scott’s death.

Carson said while Scott showed talent that made her “poised for some really amazing things. Our hearts break for the family, her friends and the entire Mason community. We’re all just devastated.”

There are 10,500 students in the Mason district, but Carson said it still feels like “a small community” because “we all have so many connections.”

Scott was pursuing a double major in broadcast journalism and political science/pre-law at Northwestern.

Northwestern Vice President for Student Affairs Julie Payne-Kirchmeier announced Scott’s death Saturday in a message to the community.

Scott joined Northwestern News Network as a reporter and anchor soon after she arrived on campus, the university said.

“I am so saddened by the news of Simone’s death,” Professor Larry Stuelpnagel said in a message to students and staff. “I was fortunate to have her in my 201-1 journalism class in the fall where she shared her love of TV news and jumped right into reporting for the Northwestern News Network. Her passion and joy for life and reporting was the very definition of ebullience. At NNN we all loved Simone and miss her terribly. There is a new bright star shining in the night sky tonight.”

The university said her death came weeks after a heart complication in May that led to a heart transplant.

“Simone’s death is a devastating loss to her family, her friends and to many on campus whose lives she touched,” the university’s email stated. “Bright, talented and ambitious, she made a deep impact during her time in Evanston.”

As Scott waited for a heart transplant, her divorced parents, Kevin Scott and Valerie Kraimer, relocated to Chicago to be closer to their daughter. A GoFundMe account was established and more than $54,000 was raised.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

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