Scott Pierce, 13, who loved the Washington Redskins, died of leukemia in a Norfolk hospital Tuesday.
Thirty minutes earlier, Scott had been smiling. His hero, Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann, had telephoned him from Washington.
The staff at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters saw to that. They knew Theismann was Scott's idol -- and they knew the youngster didn't have long to live.
Scott had played quarterback on the Central Junior High School football team in Cates County, N.C., near Elizabeth City, where his parents live in the community of Hobbsville.
He wore a Redskin T-shirt when he was out of bed. His pillowcase had Redskin emblems on them.
"He was a Redskin fan up and down," his aunt, Brenda Perry, assistant to the principal at Central Junior High, said yesterday.
Ironically, it was a football injury a month ago that led to the discovery that Scott had leukemia.
After he suffered a hand injury in a game and an ugly bruise developed, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. DeWitt Pierce, took him to a doctor who found Scott's red blood cell count was low. On a later visit, the count had dropped even lower. Further tests confirmed that Scott had leukemia.