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Massachusetts teen tragically passes away after participating in the TikTok sensation, the viral spicy chip challenge


A 14-year-old boy has died after taking part in a viral trend, according to his family.

Harris Wolobah from Massachusetts died on Friday, officials said, following what his family suspect to be from “complications” due to the “one chip challenge”, although results from a post-mortem are pending.

The cause of the student’s death has not been confirmed, and officials did not share more information about the circumstances around it.

The one chip challenge, popular on TikTok, involves munching on supposedly one of the spiciest tortilla chips in the world, then bearing the heat for as long as possible before eating or drinking something else for relief.

The chip from US brand Paqui comes individually wrapped and its website says it is made from two of the hottest chilli peppers in the world – the Carolina Reaper and Scorpion.

Harris’s mother, Lois Walobah told NBC10 Boston that she was called to the school by a nurse on Friday and that her son had told him a classmate gave him the chip, leaving him with a bad stomach ache.

They went home but later that afternoon his brother yelled that Harris had passed out, she said.

He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Ms Wolobah said her son should have been sent to the hospital instead of home after going to the nurse’s office, and wants others to know about the chips to prevent further tragedies.

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Pic: Paqui Chips
Image:
Pic: Paqui Chips

‘A rising star’

Harris’s school paid tribute to the teenager, who was a keen basketball player.

Worcester Public Schools superintendent Rachel Monarrez said: “It is with a heavy heart I share that we lost a rising star, Harris Wolobah.

“As a mother and educator, I cannot imagine how hard this is on his family, friends and teachers. My heart goes out to all who knew and loved him.”

One of his basketball coaches, Douglas Hill, said he was stunned to learn one of his star players had died.

Mr Hill said: “The first thing was shock, like when they said the name, I had to literally ask a hundred times, like if this was him.

“In a million years, you never would’ve imagined any kid nevertheless Harris, so it was definitely difficult.”

Harris’s family set up a fundraiser for his funeral expenses with over $22,000 (£17,500) raised.

The one chip challenge has circulated on social media for several years, with thousands attempting it with varying results of tears and stomach pain.

The company says the chip should be kept away from children, is only for adults to eat, and shouldn’t be eaten by anyone who’s sensitive to spicy food or with an allergen.

Sky News has contacted Paqui for comment.



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