Popular teacher at Smoky Hill High School dies

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AURORA, Colo. -- A teacher at Smoky Hill High School has died. Students and staff at the school are mourning the loss of Mitchell Hanson.

Hanson, 28, died suddenly and unexpectedly Friday night.

One student said Hanson, a social studies teacher, was a part of the culture at Smoky Hill. Another said he had been struggling for some time with some personal issues.

Students told FOX31 Denver's Justin Joseph about how special Mitchell Hanson was, and how much they liked being around him.

"He was much more than a teacher for me and I can honestly say he was one of my friends."

Even though there was no school Monday, some students gathered there to remember the teacher. "He always knew how to put a smile on people's faces. He was amazing."

"I don't know a lot of the circumstances surrounding his death but it is a tragedy and it shouldn't have happened to someone like him," Logan Sublett said.

Hanson's mother tried to answer questions about her son's death in a Facebook post. It said in part: "Hopefully this will answer a lot of your questions.
Mitchell Hanson died suddenly and accidentally on January 16 from complications of depression and substance use disorder. Mitch was only 28 years old and he was taken from us too soon."

Students often lifted their teacher's spirits and he did the same for his students.

"I could go to Mr. Hanson with any thing any time. He's one of the few teachers who stayed invested in my life since my freshman year."

They wish they had time to remind him of all the good times. "He never had a frown on his face he was always happy."

When classes resume Tuesday at Smoky Hill High School, they'll be wearing orange to remember Mitchell Hanson. The Cherry Creek School District said Monday night it's thoughts and prayers are with the Hanson family.

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