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Maddy 'wasn't just the sunshine - she was the sun'

Community's heart pours out to the family of Ensign eighth-grader who suffered an aneurysm and died. She was 13.

June 14, 2012|By Joseph Serna
  • Madison "Maddy" Boutelle, 13, of Newport Beach died Tuesday after undergoing emergency brain surgery and spending days in a coma. The Ensign Intermediate School eighth-grader suffered a brain aneurysm June 8.
Madison "Maddy" Boutelle, 13, of Newport…

Kira Ellis remembers meeting Madison "Maddy" Boutelle two years ago.

"When we first saw each other, we knew we were going to be best friends," the 14-year-old said. "She came up to me, I stuck out my hand to shake her hand, and she just hugged me."

Maddy, a beaming 13-year-old who attended Ensign Intermediate School in Newport Beach, suffered a brain aneurysm June 8 at a friend's birthday party in Newport. It was the result of a previously unidentified set of thin arteries in her brain, relatives and friends said.

After an emergency surgery at Hoag Hospital, the popular eighth-grader was taken to Children's Hospital of Orange County, where she died Tuesday.

"She was more like a best friend, my closest friend," said Maddy's twin brother, Jack. "She was five minutes older than me. She always rubbed that in my face. I don't know a person she ever hurt … she touched so many people. I love her."

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The outpouring of grief, as well as strong support, for Maddy's family from classmates, parents and strangers is a testament to how many lives the bubbly Newport native touched.

"What I was thinking about during all this is why is she connecting with everybody so much?" said Kim Ellis, Kira's mother. "It's not like she started a nonprofit, ran a marathon. It's just everything she does, she helps. She defends all the kids. She's just there for everybody."

When it became clear that Maddy wasn't going to make it, so many people wanted to say goodbye, said Ensign teacher Stefanie Beek. More than 75 students and 50 parents visited CHOC on Sunday.

"I got to say goodbye to her. I'm so thankful for that," Beek said. "That's all I keep holding on to."

Maddy was in Beek's physical education class in seventh grade and was her teacher's assistant this school year.

"Every morning I spent an hour with her," Beek said. "She was so polite and beautiful and fun and always asked me about my day and what I did over the weekend or planned to do. I felt like I was hanging out with a friend every morning … she was an old soul. So sweet to the bone."

Maddy loved going to the beach and hanging out with friends at Alta Coffee Warehouse and Restaurant on the Balboa Peninsula. Maddy sometimes showed a hilarious side that illustrated her love of life.

"Whenever a song came on that she liked, she'd get up and start dancing," Kira said. "She attempted to sing but she wasn't very good. She didn't care what people thought; she was very herself.

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