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UA softball player remembered fondly

June 28, 1997

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ Members of the University of Arizona’s national championship softball team had planned for a joyous summer reunion of sorts on Saturday.

It was UA outfielder Alison Johnsen’s day to get married in Irvine, Calif. But teammate and fellow outfielder Julie Reitan, 21, didn’t make it to the wedding.

Reitan, who planned to attend the wedding, was found dead in her Tucson townhome Friday morning.

``I don’t know how our team is going to be able to deal with a wedding and a funeral in the same few days,″ said Leah O’Brien, a teammate of Reitan.

Pima County Sheriff’s Department investigators say they’re confident no foul play was involved in the Reitan’s death. She was a diabetic _ a condition that may caused her death.

A preliminary autopsy didn’t uncover foul play injury or an obvious cause of death, the medical Examiner’s office said Saturday. Toxicology and other tests will be completed in a few weeks.

O’Brien said she believes diabetes somehow contributed to Reitan’s death.

But ``no one ever thought it was so serious that this could ever happen,″ O’Brien said. ``There were a few times when you could tell she was struggling, and you needed to get some sugar into her, but that was all.″

O’Brien, in California on tour with the U.S. Olympic gold medal softball team, said she’ll remember Reitan as a great athlete and friend.

``She always brought a smile to everyone’s faces,″ O’Brien said. ``She was one of the funniest people I know. She was always looking at the bright side.″

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