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Emerson College student dies after Allston altercation

Daniel Hollis. Hollis family photo

Daniel Hollis, the Emerson College sophomore and lacrosse player who suffered a severe brain injury in an off-campus altercation in Allston over the weekend, died early Wednesday evening, his family said.

“Our beautiful boy’s journey ended this evening at approximately 5:32 p.m.,” his parents and sister wrote on Caringbridge.org, where they have been updating his progress.

Hollis died two days after his mother announced he was not expected to regain consciousness from his injuries, even with the aid of life support systems.

Hollis, who was a goalie on the Emerson lacrosse team, was an organ donor, the family said.

“True to his caring and giving nature, Daniel chose to be an organ donor. We pray that his gifts will prevent other families from experiencing the heartbreak we are currently experiencing,” the family wrote.


They also expressed gratitude for the prayers and healing thoughts directed at their son and brother.

“Our deepest appreciation goes to all who have kept us in their thoughts and prayers. We ask you now to turn those prayers and good wishes to the many friends and family who have to learn how to live with a little less sunshine,” they said.

Emerson College sophomore Dan Hollis played ice hockey in high school and was known for his big smile - both on and off the ice. Steve Bassignani

Emerson College president Lee Pelton Wednesday sent an e-mail to the college community informing them of Hollis’ death. “ . . . Dan will be deeply missed by the many Emersonians who came to know and love him,” Pelton wrote.

The altercation that left Hollis with a devastating brain injury early Saturday morning remains under investigation, Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said.

Boston police responded to a report of an assault and battery in progress at 15 Park Vale Ave. in Allston on Saturday around 1:30 a.m., and a male found unconscious and bleeding from the head was taken to the hospital, officials said.


Hollis’s mother, Jen Kelly, wrote on CaringBridge.org that her son and his friends were leaving a party when they “were confronted by another group of college-aged boys.”

“Words were exchanged, pushing/shoving started, and in the scuffle, we believe Dan was hit and subsequently hit his head on cement/bricks as he fell,” she wrote. “He was brought to a local Boston hospital and was diagnosed with a blood clot on his brain requiring immediate surgery.”

Hollis was unresponsive when he arrived at the hospital and was placed in a medically induced coma, Kelly wrote.

No arrests had been made in connection with the violence as of 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, a Boston police spokesman said.

On the Emerson campus Wednesday night, several students were reluctant to talk about the tragedy. The college has scheduled a vigil for Hollis at noon on Thursday, according to Pelton’s e-mail.

Hollis, a marketing communication major enrolled in the class of 2022, lived in Mendon and is survived by his mother, his father, Jason, and his older sister, Kate, according to Pelton.

Emerson lacrosse coach Matt Colombini described the 6 foot 4 Hollis as “someone that people enjoy being around.”

“He loved life and life loved him,” Colombini said in a statement.

Professor Fredericka King, whose course on the history of American music was a favorite of Hollis’s, recalled his “special bright smile,” according to the president’s e-mail.

She recalled a conversation she had with Hollis about a performance by rapper Travis Scott he had seen at TD Garden.


“We watched the videos he had taken at the show, and we laughed and carried on about the huge amazing stage production and how great the music was,” King said.

In an e-mail, Patricia D. Nicol, the director of athletics at Emerson, said Hollis “truly epitomized the qualities of an Emerson student athlete and represented the College with the highest degree of integrity.”

Hollis graduated from Hopedale Junior Senior High School, where he played not only lacrosse but also ice hockey.

The hockey coach there, Greg LaBossiere, said Hollis was upbeat and friendly, and always brought a smile to the locker room.

“He was the ultimate teammate,” he said. “One of his strengths was bringing that positive energy wherever he went.”

LaBossiere said he has known Hollis since he was in the eighth grade, when he played junior varsity, and watched him evolve and become an assistant captain of the varsity team.

He said Hollis not only earned the respect of his teammates but also of players on opposing teams. “It says a lot about how he played,” he said.

Steve Bassignani, a local photographer who shoots high school sporting events, described Hollis as a “great kid.”

Globe correspondents Sofia Saric and Autumn Pattison contributed to this story. Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com.