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Veteran NFL safety William White, who spent six years in Detroit Lions, died after a six-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the team announced Thursday. He was 56 years old.
White, who was diagnosed with the condition in 2016, was first selected by the Ohio State Lions in the fourth round of the 1988 NFL Draft. He also played for Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons during this time, he appeared in Super Bowl XXXIII.
“I loved William,” Special Assistant to the President and CEO of the Lions, Chris Spielman, said in a statement. “We shared joy and sorrow on and off the pitch. He was and always will be my brother.”
“I am infinitely grateful for the special moment last year when he was able to be by my side during the Pride of Lions ceremony at Ford Field,” he continued. “I can’t wait to see him again when he is ALS free. May God’s peace be with his family.”
During his NFL career, White registered 20 interceptions and 721 tackles in 170 games.
“I think every time you’re part of this profession, this fraternity, and you hear that kind of news, it hits really hard.” Lions head coach Dan Campbell told reporters on Friday. “We think of him and his family.”
Ohio Wolf Foundation Senior Vice President and Athletic Director Gene Smith also shared his condolences on Twitter:
“Rest in peace, William White. Great person and Buckeye. Thank you for everything you have given us!”