WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) issued the following statement on the passing of U.S. Naval Academy midshipman Austin Zalik:

“I was incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of Austin Zalik. I was honored to nominate him for admission to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2009. During the nomination process, Austin proved to be an extremely mature and driven young man. He was an impressive student at Parkland High School and accomplished gymnast at Parkettes in Allentown. It came as no surprise to learn he was excelling as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Austin’s family and friends at this difficult time, especially his parents Jacqueline and Matthew, and sister Chandler. Austin will be deeply missed by those in the Lehigh Valley and Naval Academy communities who were fortunate enough to know him.”