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Students Tried To Save Teacher Who Died After Collapsing In Class

LEECHBURG (KDKA) -- For Leechburg seniors Amy Young and Abe Gibson, music teacher Dave Ritzel was a mentor and instructor, but so much more.

"He was like a friend, in a way, we could talk to him about anything. He was really good guy," Young said.

The 53-year-old Monreoville man taught music to countless students from the elementary to high school levels in his decades in the Leechburg School District.

"He enjoyed it, he loved it so much," Young said.

"He focused on what it meant to us, rather than how do we relate it to other people," Gibson said.

But Tuesday, Ritzel collapsed in front of students including, Young and Gibson.

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"We all were in shock," Young said.

That's why, led by Abe Gibson, the young people tried to save the life of the man who touched theirs so much.

"We knew where our strengths lie, I just knew how to get the ball rolling. I wasn't alone," Gibson said.

"We all did everything we could," Young said.

Despite their heroic efforts, Ritzel would not recover and was pronounced dead shortly afterward. The cause of death was later determined to be hypertensive arthrosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

"It's a little rough, but we're staying strong," Young said.

For his students, his musical life lessons on love and laughter will live forever.

"He always brought humor to the classroom no matter what it was," Gibson said.

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