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Teen died from eating spicy chip as part of social media challenge, autopsy report says

BOSTON — A Massachusetts teen who participated in a spicy tortilla chip challenge on social media died from ingesting a high amount of a chili pepper extract, according to an autopsy report obtained by The Associated Press.

Harris Wolobah, a 10th grader from the city of Worcester, died on Sept. 1, 2023, after eating the chip. He was found unresponsive by police who were called to his home, and brought to a hospital, where he died.

The cause of death was listed as cardiopulmonary arrest “in the setting of recent ingestion of food substance with high capsaicin concentration.”

The teen also had an enlarged heart and a congenital heart defect, according to the report, the findings of which were shared with the AP in an email from Elaine Driscoll, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

The cause of death was determined on Feb. 27, and the death certificate was released to the city clerk’s office on March 5, Driscoll said.

The manufacturer of the chip, Paqui, asked retailers to stop selling the product shortly after Harris’ death.

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