FAMU Band Member Dies, Hazing Involved

A Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University student died Saturday night after being found unresponsive on a bus parked outside a hotel where the the school’s band was staying. Robert Champion, 26, was on the bus with fellow band mates when he experienced difficulties breathing.

Ginette Rodriguez, Orange County Sherriff’s Office spokeswoman, said he was with FAMU bandmates in front of the Rosen Plaza hotel on International Drive Staurday when he started vomiting and complained that he couldn’t breathe.

Friends called 911 and performed CPR, she added.

Mr. Champion was later taken to Dr. Phillips hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

There is still uncertainty surrounding his cause of death. Ms. Rodriguez said investigators are awaiting the results of the autopsy and will determine if Champion’s death was a homicide.


Florida A&M University President James Ammons is suspending all practices and performances of the school’s famed Marching 100 band until investigators can determine what led to a member’s death last weekend, The Huffington Post reports.

An independent task force will be formed to look into the death of 26-year-old Robert Champion, he said.

Rumors have circulated suggesting hazing may have been involved. The task force will investigate rituals performed by the school’s band.

The school will cooperate with Orange County deputies who are investigating the death, Ammons said.


Investigators found evidence hazing was in involved in the death of Robert Champion, Orange County Sherriff Jerry L. Demings announced at a 4 p.m. media conference in Orlando. The cause of death is inconclusive, Demmings said, and the medical examiner says more tests are required.

Demmings added, “Any death that occurs as the result of hazing is a third degree felony,” he said. “Anyone who participates in such events can be criminally charged.”

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Watch Tribute to Robert Champion here.

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