06:07 PM EST on Wednesday, December 31, 2008
BELMONT, N.C. -- A day before the New Year, hundreds of family and friends gathered at Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church to remember 23-year-old Jordan Traylor.
"It's such a tribute to Jordan to see all the people that are here," said Traylor’s uncle, Michael Smith. "[Jordan] had a great personality, lot of energy when he walked into a room."
Traylor graduated from Gardner-Webb University, was a star soccer player and died suddenly over the weekend in his Belmont home.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Traylor tested positive for influenza, commonly known as the flu.
The department is still investigating exactly how Traylor died.
His family said he started feeling sick before Christmas. Relatives say doctors diagnosed him with the flu and sent him home.
"Sometime during the night on Friday, he just passed. No pain or anything, just kind of fell asleep,” said Smith.
Dr. Charles Breiger, medical director of Presbyterian Urgent Care’s Southern Piedmont region, and who is not affiliated with Traylor’s case, says that people do not normally die from the flu per se.
"It’s really a complication of the flu and the most common one would be getting pneumonia,” said Breiger.
Breiger said he has noticed flu cases picking up recently.
"It is getting worse this week and there's no telling how bad the flu season could be this year,” he said.
According to NCDHHS, North Carolina has had three positive cases of the flu so far this year.
Nationally, the agency says there is an average of 36,000 deaths annually from the flu and 200,000 hospitalizations.
Health leaders say there is plenty of the flu vaccine available, both in nasal and injection form.
Doctors say there are differences in symptoms between the flu and common cold. The flu normally results in severe, high fevers, muscle aches and fatigue.