TRIBUTES have been paid after the sudden death of a 16-year-old Hampshire student.

Dace Jankovica died in hospital after being taken there from the East Close Hotel in Hinton in the New Forest on Saturday night.

Brockenhurst College, where she was studying, last night flew its flag at half mast while floral tributes were laid by students.

Friends have taken to social media to pay tribute to the popular student, who moved to the Dorset area around a year ago.

@georgiaflintt tweeted: “RIP my beautiful girl, such an amazing best friend to us all, we will love you forever and never ever gonna forget you.”

@Libertyymae added: “I can’t even put it into words, my heart is completely broken, I love you so much.”

And @abishenton said: “Heaven has gained an absolute beauty – question myself why bad things happen to the best ones, RIP Dace.”

There are also dozens of tributes on Facebook.

Staff at both Highcliffe School, where she completed her GCSEs, and Brockenhurst College are aware of the tragedy and are offering support to students.

Head teacher of Highcliffe School, Patrick Earnshaw, said: “The school is deeply saddened to learn of Dace’s sudden death and our thoughts are with her family and friends at this very difficult time.

“Dace joined Highcliffe in Year 11. She was liked by all who knew her because of her positive outlook and zest for life. In the short time she was with us she developed into a wonderful young lady. She will be missed.”

She is believed to have been employed at the East Close Hotel. Shocked staff at the hotel declined to comment.

Police are investigating the death and a spokesman said: “Police were alerted to concern for the welfare of a 16-year-old girl at the East Close Country Hotel on Lyndhurst Road in the New Forest at around 9.50pm on Saturday, November 1.

“Sadly she later died at a hospital in Bournemouth.

“The death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious and a file is now being prepared for the coroner in Dorset.”