Philip "PJ" Porter III, 18, a Chaminade High School senior...

Philip "PJ" Porter III, 18, a Chaminade High School senior from East Northport, died during the weekend. Credit: Ray O'Connor Photography

A Chaminade High School senior who had started a gym regimen died over the weekend, shocking his schoolmates and teachers.

Philip “PJ” Porter III, 18, complained Saturday night of soreness before going to bed, according to his sister, Katie Porter, 21. He never woke.

Suffolk County police went to the family’s home in East Northport, but were not investigating the death as a homicide, a police representative said Monday. Family members said a cause of death was not determined. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Porter’s death devastated staff and students at the all-male Catholic high school in Mineola, said Chaminade president Brother Thomas Cleary.

“Everyone is stunned,” Cleary said.

Porter recently learned he had been accepted to Marist College in Poughkeepsie, his first choice for college. He spoke French fluently and enjoyed historical role-playing video games, his sister said.

At school, Porter was a familiar presence, Cleary said.

“He was known by all his classmates,” Cleary said, describing him as an affable, giving young man.

Students started their day with a campuswide prayer for Porter and his family, and counselors will be available, he said.

“Our go-to is prayer,” Cleary said. “It is a process to help them and everyone deal with the pain and loss.”

Seniors were not in school this week, as underclassmen prepared for exam week. The school has about 1,700 students.

“When one of us is in bad times, we all pull together,” said Anthony P. D’Esposito, a Hempstead Town councilman and Chaminade graduate. The school has 19,000 alumni.

Porter was active in the school’s Columbian Squires, a youth fraternity of the Knights of Columbus that does similar charitable work.

Porter’s father and grandfather, both also named Philip, were the former owners of Phil’s Drive-In Deli in Huntington Station. His father died in May.

Lately, Porter started to focus on his physique.

“He was trying to lose some weight and started going to the gym with friends,” his sister said.

Porter said she did not know specifics of his regimen.

“We encouraged it, from afar, but never pushed him,” she said.


Katie Porter’s name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.

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