Two year 10 pupils at Emmanuel College were taken ill over the weekend.
Michael Lloyd, 15, died on Tuesday from suspected meningococcal meningitis. The condition of the other boy is said to be slowly improving.
In a statement, Michael's parents, Allison and Eddie, and his sister Amy said that the whole family had been left "devastated".
They also thanked medics, including the family GP, for their efforts in trying to save Michael.
Head teacher Jonathan Winch said: "Everyone in college is devastated by the sudden loss of such a young and promising life."
Mr Winch said Michael's family was at the forefront of everyone's thoughts and they were being prayed for.
Mr Winch described Michael as "gentle, funny and genuine - polite, very popular and a brilliant friend".
The statement from Michael's family read: "Allison, Eddie and Amy Lloyd would like to thank their family and friends for their love, support and messages during this tragic time.
"The death of their son Michael yesterday has left the whole family devastated."'Devastating illness'
The school said trained staff were supporting students, who were informed of the news in an assembly on Wednesday morning.
A book of condolence has been opened.
On Monday, pupils in year 10 at the school were offered antibiotics and letters were sent to parents of all the students giving them advice and information.Trained staff are supporting students
Experts from the Health Protection Agency are advising students and staff at the school.
Dr Tricia Cresswell, from the Health Protection Agency, said: "This has been a sad reminder of how devastating this illness can be.
"It's crucial to be able to recognise the signs and symptoms and to get treatment as soon as possible.
"But even with early recognition sadly it is not always possible to stop the rapid progress of this disease.
"Meningococcal bacteria do not spread easily. Only people who have had prolonged, close contact with the person are at a slightly increased risk of becoming unwell.
"Because both students developed the infection around the same time, all students in year 10 were offered antibiotics. This is strictly as a precautionary measure and there is no additional risk to other students and staff members."
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