BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Burlington Police believe a man froze to death while walking to church.
Police say 61-year-old Franklin Roosevelt Kirby was found dead around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday near the playground at Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter on E. Davis Street.
Related: Extreme Cold Weather Safety Guide
Lt. Todd Long says a passerby called 911, thinking the man was asleep.
Police say Kirby walked two miles from his family's home on Rauhut Street on Monday night around 7 p.m. They say Kirby was on his way to a meeting at the church, though he did not regularly attend services there.
Pastor Becky Crites says the congregation will be praying for Kirby's family on Sunday.
"Any tragedy affects us all," said Crites. "To his family and those who know him and love him, we are all very saddened for their loss."
Crites says Kirby's untimely death is a tragic reminder for everyone to mind the dangers of the cold weather.
"It just reminds us that we need to pay attention to the care that we give our neighbors always and all walks of life," said Crites.
Sgt. Shane Brown with the Burlington Police Department says Kirby was dressed for the weather, however, his family said he did have health problems.
"It’s really cold. I don’t know if it’s something that were used to in this area of North Carolina, staying this cold for this long, we just have to be prepared for it," said Brown. "We caution people when they have to be out in this weather to make sure they’re in layers and if they have any needs, contact us or other services that are out there."
Police say Kirby's body has been sent to the NC Medical Examiner's Office to find out an official cause of death. Investigators don't believe foul play is involved, and a preliminary investigation suggests the extreme cold weather was the main factor.
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