Rhea Hourigan, 19, was visiting her aunt in the French capital for a few days at the end of April before returning to Durham University after the Easter break when she suffered a cardiac arrest.
The first-year student had spent the day riding around Paris on an electric bike and enjoyed “the most wonderful day” exploring the sights of the city before tragedy struck.
Rhea, from Birmingham, collapsed in the shower later that evening and her aunt phoned for an ambulance to get her medical help. But despite the best efforts of paramedics, the teenager sadly passed away at 12.45am on Saturday 29 April. She died of a cardiac arrest at just 19-years-old, but the cause of it is currently unknown.
In an emotional statement on Facebook, Rhea’s mum Jo wrote: “She had so many plans, dreams and aspirations. She was our bright shining star. She hadn’t even finished her first year of uni which she absolutely loved up in Durham and had made so many good friends.
“Our only comfort is that she was so happy and had had a brilliant day seeing the sights of Paris. She wouldn’t have known what had happened and didn’t suffer.”
Rhea’s family have returned to the UK, but the teenager is still in Paris as an autopsy is due to take place next week. It is hoped that Rhea will be able to return home after that.
Friend of the family Dawn Buchanan has set up a GoFundMe page to help support the family and ease their financial burden during this “devastating time”.
She said: “It is with a heavy heart I am setting up this fundraiser for a beautiful young lady Rhea Hourigan who was tragically taken from this world on Saturday 29th April leaving her doting parents Jo and Dom, brother Joel and grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends totally and utterly devastated.
“Their friends and family wanted to reach out and help as much as they can to ease the financial burden a little with any costs they will be incurring during this devastating time and the coming weeks and months.
“I totally understand times are tough for everyone at the moment but anything at all you may be able to spare to help this very special family in their time of need would be so much appreciated.”
More than £23,000 has already been raised towards the goal of £40,000, with over 800 donating to support the family.
A Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office spokesperson said: “We are supporting the family of a British woman who died in Paris.”