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Teen Definitely Died From One Chip Challenge -- Official Cause Of Death Explained

Teen Definitely Died From One Chip Challenge -- Official Cause Of Death Explained

A cause of death has been confirmed for the teen who died after doing the “One Chip Challenge.”

Last year, 14-year-old Harris Wolobah, a sophomore at Doherty Memorial High School in Massachusetts, died after participating in Paqui‘s “One Chip Challenge” — a challenge in which you eat a single $10 chip containing Carolina Reaper and Naga Viper peppers while trying to avoid drinking anything for as long as possible. Both those peppers were formerly ranked as the hottest peppers on earth, so that tells you how extreme the heat is!

Harris’ mother, Lois Wolobah, previously told WBZ that Harris was at school on September 1 when she was notified that he had fainted after eating the chip. He was picked up from school and taken home, only for family members to discover him unconscious by 4:30 p.m. that same day. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. His family has blamed his shock death on the viral chip challenge and the school not sending him directly to the hospital — but now they have evidence to back this up.

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On Thursday, the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner confirmed that Harris died from consuming a high level of chili pepper extract known as capsaicin. His exact cause of death was listed as a cardiopulmonary arrest “in the setting of recent ingestion of food substance with high capsaicin concentration.” That said, the examiner could not confirm whether the chip was the source of the capsaicin — though it’s hard to imagine what else it could’ve been from!

Also, it was determined that the student had an enlarged heart and a congenital heart defect, both of which his family was not aware of at the time of his death. According to the NIH, it’s not uncommon for cardiomegaly to go undetected until symptoms arise.

Back when the teenager died, Paqui pulled the chip from stores after realizing that so many kids were getting their hands on the hot food, which was only intended for adults. Referencing this, a rep told People following the autopsy report:

“We were and remain deeply saddened by the death of Harris Wolobah and extend our condolences to his family and friends. Paqui’s One Chip Challenge was intended for adults only, with clear and prominent labeling highlighting that the product was not for children or anyone sensitive to spicy foods or with underlying health conditions.”

They added:

“We saw increased reports of teens and other individuals not heeding these warnings. As a result, while the product adhered to food safety standards, out of an abundance of caution, we worked with retailers to voluntarily remove the product from shelves in September 2023, and the One Chip Challenge has been discontinued.”

Super heartbreaking to see what was supposed to be a fun, lighthearted challenge amount to so much devastation. Our thoughts go out to all of Harris’ family and friends.

[Image via GoFundMe & Hot Ones/YouTube]

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May 17, 2024 11:10am PDT