Gerald Belz, an 18-year-old student at the University of Iowa, tragically passed away on January 30, after he was as found outside of a university an academic hall around 3 a.m. on Wednesday.
According to police, after authorities found Belz — a second-year pre-med student — unconscious outside Halsey Hall in the early hours of Wednesday, January 30, he was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
At the time Gerald was discovered, the National Weather Service says the wind chill temperature around 3 a.m. in Iowa City was -51 degrees. According to Belz’s family, doctors did not find alcohol in Gerald’s system.
While officials have not provided a specific cause of death at this time, they believe his death was related to dangerously low temperatures that covered the midwest.
Saddened by the loss of a member of the Hawkeye family: pic.twitter.com/sMq4XRK1Ci
— University of Iowa (@uiowa) January 30, 2019
At this time, an investigation into Belz’ death is currently underway. The University of Iowa canceled classes through Thursday, January 31, as a result of the cold front. Belz’s death marks the eighth person to die due to the historic cold that the United States is currently battling.
Speaking to KCRG 9, Gerald’s father Michael Belz said that “Gerald was sending messages to his girlfriend using the social media platform Snapchat late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. The messages indicated that Gerald was going to bed with no plans to go out.”
Dr. Angie Reams, the interim Associate Vice President and Dean of Students at the University of Iowa, released the following statement in regards to Belz’s tragic and untimely passing:
“We are saddened by the loss of a student from the Hawkeye family. Gerald Belz, a second year, pre-medicine major, died on January 30, 2019. Our thoughts are with Gerald’s family, friends, and loved ones. Losing a fellow student and member of our Hawkeye family can be difficult. I encourage you to reach out if you are in need of support,” Interim Vice President Reams said.
The University of Iowa is provided a variety of services to any students and staff who are grieving at this time.