People walk as children play on a street in Havana, Cuba
A back street scene in Havana, CubaReuters

A British school is in shock after a 15-year-old boy died suddenly in his sleep during a trip to Cuba. Alex Holliday was on a school tour with fellow pupils from Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School in Faversham, Kent.

He died in his hotel room during the early hours of Friday (11 August) following what is believed to have been a medical episode from which he did not recover, with the result of an autopsy still to come.

His family said he was "gentle, kind and always funny and full of life."

The schoolboy was on the Caribbean island on a marine ecology trip organised by the school. He was among 30 students and four staff on the trip. He had been due to return home on Monday (14 August).

Head teacher David Anderson broke the news of the talented park runner's tragic death.

"Alex was a quiet and determined young man with a wonderful sense of humour; he enjoyed all aspects of school life and was making good academic progress. Alex was a wonderful person, unfailingly polite and courteous and keen to engage in the wider life of the school, particularly in sport and through his participation in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme," said Anderson.

"He would have been starting his final year of GCSE courses in September and his early passing is a great loss to the school. As you can imagine all members of the school community are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible tragedy. Staff, students and Governors at Queen Elizabeth's offer their condolences to Alex's family at this most difficult of times, they are very much in our thoughts."

The school, with over 1,000 students and 100 staff plans to open up for a couple of days during the school holidays to provide access to a counsellor.

Outside school Alex trained with the Invicta East Kent Athletic Club in Canterbury, and is described in race reports as having "one of the easiest [running] styles" at the club.