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Colleagues remember fitness expert who died suddenly after police agility test

Jeffrey Tant (Provided by Tessa Spencer-Adams)

Friends and co-workers say 35-year-old Jeff Tant was the picture of health.

He was an exercise enthusiast and trainer at a local boxing club.

Still, they knew he had asthma. But they didn't realize it could have led to his early death.

At Title Boxing Club in North Charleston, men and women punch through a powerful exercise regiment during their lunch hour. One of the trainers who helped them recently was Jeff Tant.

"We're still in shock to be honest with you. He was with me from the beginning. We opened the club back in 2014. One of the main reasons I got into the boxing fitness club business was because of Jeff," said Rick Jarrell, also known as Papa J, owner of Title Boxing Club on Dorchester Road.

Jarrell says he knew the fitness expert for years. On Monday, Tant taught a fitness session.

A co-worker recorded it. But no one knew it would be his last one.

Tant was pronounced deceased at Roper Hospital Tuesday morning after being transported by EMS following completion of a physical agility test for the Charleston Police Department, which applicants take.

"We're shocked because he was out here regular training and was in perfect shape as far as just looking at him on the outside," Jarrell said.

He explained how his long-time friend decided to pursue a police career. And he used his health and wellness expertise to train for the agility test.

"He loved doing this and he was still planning on doing training and stuff here. But he wanted to settle into more of a career-type job," the long-time friend said.

Others remember Jeff Tant as a role model for other employees and those seeking healthier lifestyles.

"He was a great head trainer. A great mentor for some of the younger guys that were coming up trying to learn how to do this. You could just tell he was very good at it," recalled Chris Bowen, manager for Title Boxing Club.

A fitness friend with a hard punch, but a kind heart.

"Just a fun guy to be around. Just had that way about him," Jarrell said.

Employees at Title Boxing Club tell ABC News 4 they're planning a fundraising event, possibly using "Go Fund Me" for the family.

They say Jeff Tant probably didn't have life insurance. He leaves behind a wife and 3-year-old son.

The Charleston County coroner's office says an autopsy is scheduled to find out exactly how he died.

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