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St. Petersburg High senior, 18, found dead

ST. PETERSBURG — The teenage son of Pinellas County schools' athletic director died early Sunday of unknown causes.

Nick Grasso found his 18-year-old son, Frank, dead about 3 a.m. Sunday, police said. Lt. Greg Schwemley said police are awaiting the results of an autopsy of Grasso, who was a senior at St. Petersburg High School.

The younger Grasso was a 5-foot-11, 320-pound offensive lineman at St. Petersburg High last year. He played baseball for the Green Devils last year, too. He played football at Northeast High from 2005 to 2006, before changing schools last year.

This year, however, he quit sports to concentrate on his academics, his father said.

Frank was taking medication for an enlarged heart, his father said. His son died in his sleep at a friend's house, he said.

St. Petersburg High football coach Joe Fabrizio said he told his players about their former teammate's death at Monday practice.

"We were all shocked about Frank's death," Fabrizio said. "He was a kid everybody loved. Sometimes he came off as gruff, but he really was a big teddy bear."

The school is planning a moment of silence before Friday's home opener against Northeast High, Fabrizio said.

At the time of his death, the younger Grasso was awaiting trial on a charge of driving under the influence. St. Petersburg police charged him in January with DUI and with running a red light. The case was set for a pre-trial hearing later this month.

A viewing is set for 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Paul's Catholic Church, 1900 12th St. N, St. Petersburg. A service at the church will be at 10 a.m. Thursday.

St. Petersburg High senior, 18, found dead 09/01/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 8, 2008 12:41pm]
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