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‘To know Jax was to love him’: Community mourns sudden death of 7-year-old Andover boy

The Sussex County community is rallying to support the family of an Andover Township boy who died suddenly earlier this week.

Jaxon Smith, 7, was found dead in bed by his father Jesse early Monday morning, according to a GoFundMe page set up to help the family cover funeral expenses. The cause of death has not been disclosed.

“At only 7 years old, Jax left this world and his heartbroken family behind,” said Megan Smith, a family member who organized the fundraiser. “The only thing bigger than Jax’s beautiful eyes were his personality and his heart. To know Jax was to love him.”

Jax was a “beast” in wrestling and soccer capable of taking down opponents twice his size, Smith wrote. He was “the best little brother” to Jake, Justin and Jesse Jr., according to the GoFundMe, and the youngest son of Jesse and his wife, Karen.

“Jax’s future was so bright,” Smith said. “Jax was taken from this world unexpectedly, tragically, unfairly and way before he should have been.”

News of Jax’s sudden death spread quickly on social media, with announcements from the Andover Township police and fire departments and the Newton Braves Youth Wrestling community. The Newton Braves Youth Football League, where Jax played at the flag football level, called his death “an unthinkable tragedy,” and the Newton United Soccer Club remembered him for his “enthusiastic play and willingness to try any position.”

“He was one of the youngest on the team, but a go-to player with an incredibly bright future far beyond soccer,” the club’s post read. “He is already missed by his teammates and coaches as our hearts go out to his family.”

The community’s efforts boosted the GoFundMe page well above its initial $20,000 goal, with more than $33,000 raised as of Thursday afternoon.

“We have been getting unbelievable support from the community,” Karen Smith said in a brief statement to the New Jersey Herald Thursday. She also thanked Andover Police officers “for the effort they put forth trying to save our son.”

Megan Smith expressed her gratitude to the donors on the page, saying, “On one of the darkest days, your condolences and generosity have been a light. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.”

Family and friends planned to gather for a celebration of Jax’s life from 4-8 p.m. on Saturday at Cochran Funeral Home in Hackettstown.

‘To know Jax was to love him’: Community mourns sudden death of 7-year-old Andover boy
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