California University of Pennsylvania student Shanice Clark died after 'choking on gum'

Shanice was a talented basketball player and hoped to become a broadcaster

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A student in the US state of Pennsylvania who was discovered unconscious in her apartment, is believed to have choked on gum in her sleep.

Shanice Clark, 21, from Toronto, Canada, was found unresponsive at around 3am local time on Sunday, in her dormitory at California University of Pennsylvania.

She later died at Mon Valley Hospital on Sunday night.

Preliminary reports from a member of medical staff suggest that the California University of Pennsylvania student inhaled a piece of gum while she was asleep, police said.

Shanice Clark, who is believed to have died after choking on gum in her sleep (California University of Pennsylvania)

Clark was a communications studies student with ambitions to become a broadcaster, but was also talented athlete on a basketball scholarship, Toronto’s CTV News reported.

Her former coach, Cleveland Clunis, paid tribute to Clark, whom he had coached since she was just 12-years-old.

“It was sky's the limit. I felt that even if she finished university, she could still continue on [with basketball] – maybe play overseas or something like that,” he told the broadcaster.

Clark graduated from Cedarbrae Collegiate Institute in Scarborough in 2011, before attending Santa Fe College in Florida on a basketball scholarship. Two year later, she transferred to California University.

The California University of Pennsylvania (Wikimedia Commons)

Clark also attended basketball camps. Her friend told the broadcaster she was known for encouraging her campmates.

“She's the one clapping - always trying to encourage her teammates,” said long-time friend and fellow athlete Vayga Clunis, who played Clark for half a decade.

Her schoolmates paid their respects to Clark on Twitter, including the university's sports and cheer leading teams, and a fraternity.