Treadmill death still a mystery for Hutt family

Tight knit: William's family at their Upper Hutt home - Father John, stepmother Prue and sister Penelope.
Tight knit: William's family at their Upper Hutt home - Father John, stepmother Prue and sister Penelope.

The sudden and mysterious death of William Leith at an Upper Hutt gym has left his family mourning a life filled with intelligence and vigour, cut tragically short.

"You joke about someone being prime minister one day, but with William it could have really happened," his sister Penelope Leith said.

William's family home in Te Marua filled with visitors, cards, flowers and food during the weekend.

William, 21, collapsed and died on a treadmill at City Fitness gym in Upper Hutt on Wednesday morning.

His father John said the cause of William's death was still unknown, after an autopsy proved inconclusive.

"If there was a reason it would help. They're doing some further tests, but they will take weeks.

"He was fairly healthy, he didn't smoke. He had a few social outings but no different to anyone else."

John Leith said William went to the gym about twice a week, amid a busy academic and social calendar.

About four years ago a metal bar was inserted in William's sternum to relieve a sunken chest, but this was not thought to be related to his death.

"He was a tall skinny white boy and he wanted to fill out a bit."

William, who was learning to drive, drove his father to the gym on Wednesday, before John Leith carried on to work in Porirua.

"That was the last time I saw him. You never expect your children to go before you."

William was a gifted commerce and law student at Victoria University, a popular accounting tutor and debater.

Head boy of Heretaunga College in 2010, he received many academic awards, including the senior debating prize and the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Literature Award.

John Leith said William was already looking forward to a career, and joked about supporting his parents in their old age.

William recently won an accounting prize and had applied for summer internships with law firms DLA Phillips Fox and Russell McVeagh.

The Dominion Post