WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The co-founder and CEO of an area autism center and foundation has died, leaving a community mourning the loss of a beloved man this week.
According to Cornerstone Autism Center Foundation, Inc., Director of Development Natalee Mace, 48-year-old David Ide died in his sleep Sunday night.
"This comes as a terrible shock and huge loss to all of us," David's wife, Debbie Ide, said.
She says preliminary results suggested his aorta ruptured and he likely passed away within minutes, but that David was in great health and there were no indications that would have suggested anything of this nature.
Funeral arrangements are still pending.
In a message to Cornerstone's members, Debbie said the organization will continue onward in an effort to honor David:
We wish to assure you that Cornerstone will strongly and with integrity continue on. Cornerstone Autism Center stands as David's legacy to the world, his gift to all of us. What began as a dream became a reality that will continue to bring hope, support and empowerment to those with autism and those who love them. In the emotional aftermath of this tragedy, you can be comforted in the knowledge that the amazing therapy and care of the children that has been associated with Cornerstone Autism Center will not be diminished in anyway. Our "best in class" service will be maintained. Our desire to honor David compels that.
Ide and his wife founded Cornerstone as parents of a child with autism. The organization has improved the lives of autistic children in countless ways, including organizing motorcycle rides to raise funds and distributing iPads to kids with autism for educational purposes.
"This tragedy reminds us all how short life truly is," Debbie said. "May you live today as intentionally as David lived his life."
Cornerstone has established the David Ide Memorial Fund. If you'd like to contribute in his name, head to this website. Proceeds will go to the Cornerstone Autism Foundation.
For information on funeral services and arrangements, check here.
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