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STUDENT DEATH BLAMED ON VIRAL INFECTION

A viral infection that affected her heart caused the death of Tara Laurie, the 20-year-old Niagara University theater student who collapsed on stage Monday night while rehearsing for a school play.

A preliminary autopsy revealed myocarditis, an inflammation of the cardiac muscle tissue, Niagara County Coroner Russell Jackman said Friday. A full pathology report is yet to be completed.

The Niagara University senior was rehearsing a leading role as the vicar's wife in the Agatha Christie mystery, "Murder at the Vicarage," at the university's Theater at the Church on Plain Street in Lewiston when she was stricken.

Brendan Powers, NU's interim director of theater studies, said he met with the students and cast on Tuesday and they decided to go ahead with the play in Laurie's memory.

Performances will continue at 8 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Sunday in the former St. Peter's Catholic Church.

Laurie is survived by her parents, Donald and Janice of Ransomville; a brother, Mark, of Rochester; and her grandmothers, Margaret S. Laurie of Lewiston and Jessie Miecznikowski of Depew.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. today in the Niagara University Chapel, Lewiston.

e-mail: bmichelmore@buffnews.com

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