News & Politics

University of Virginia Student’s Death at DC Nightclub Under Investigation

Mary "Shelly" Goldsmith, 19, died shortly after collapsing during a show at Echostage. The cause of her death is still unknown.

The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the death last Saturday night of Mary “Shelly” Goldsmith, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Virginia, who passed away at a DC hospital after collapsing at a packed nightclub.

Goldsmith, who hailed from Abingdon, Va., was attending a show at Echostage, a 30,000-square-foot Northeast DC venue that bills itself as the city’s largest nightlife spot. On Saturday, it hosted “Cosmic Lights,” a show billed as a “high-powered laser and lighting experience” fueled by a lineup of DJs.

According to police, she complained to friends she wasn’t feeling well and asked them to call 911 before losing consciousness. Goldsmith was pronounced dead later that night at Providence Hospital.

The cause of Goldsmith’s death is still undetermined, pending an autopsy which could take several days to find a reason. Her father, Rob Goldsmith, told NBC4 he believes his daughter had some kind of “heart and pulmonary” attack.

Echostage released a brief statement yesterday afternoon about the young student’s death. “We are saddened to hear about Mary Shelley Goldsmith’s death,” read the statement, which was signed by the venue’s management. “We have no further comment as it is our understanding that this is part of an active investigation. We will cooperate with the appropriate authorities.”

Goldsmith was an elite student at Virginia, as one of a select few students attending on a full ride through the Jefferson Scholarship program.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.