Cooper Burrell passes away after 2-plus year battle with rare cancer

The Clover High School student was only 17 years old.
Cooper Burrell
Cooper Burrell(Family photos)
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 4:36 PM EST
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CLOVER, S.C. (WBTV) - Around 6:45 p.m. last night I got an email from Tracey Burrell, a dedicated mom whose son has been battling a rare cancer since October 2020. Her note was short, sweet, and a total gut punch.

“Hi. I just wanted to let you know that Cooper passed away around 12:30 this afternoon. Tracey.”

Cooper Burrell was 17 years old. He’d had a roller coaster of a ride with cancer, and our last update in October was actually a good one. At the time, things were looking up for the Clover teen.

Last night, his mom, who is an ER nurse by trade, said that good path took a turn in late November.

“He got sick right after Thanksgiving and then started getting bad in the last few days,” she said. “The lymph nodes on the side of his neck got so swollen he was having trouble breathing and swallowing. He got really bad this past Wednesday.”

Thursday, he died.

Tracey said full arrangements aren’t yet set, but she knows services will be at City Church in Gastonia.

Cooper was a senior at Clover High School. He loved playing video games, watching YouTube videos, and… driving. He loved his first car. He was also involved in AFJROTC (Air Force Junior Officer Training Corps).

The cancer Cooper battled was SMARC B1 deficient, poorly-differentiated chordoma, listed at Stage 3. That formal diagnosis really just meant Cooper had an aggressive subtype of head and neck cancer.

Tracey sent three pictures to share in this announcement. One is what you see here, the other two are below in comments.

Hate everything about this, Tracey. We are so, so sorry.

The Good, the Bad, and Always Real.

- Molly