Former University of Illinois football player Bobby Roundtree has died, the school’s athletic department said Friday. He was 23.
“The Illini Family has lost one of its inspirational leaders with the passing of Bobby Roundtree Friday in the Tampa Bay area,” the university tweeted Friday afternoon.
The former defensive end has been recovering from a spinal injury due to a swimming accident for the past two years.
Roundtree tweeted Thursday night, “Stay humble and keep ELEVATING.”
He had been sharing videos of his rehabilitation sessions on social media to keep in touch with his Illini community, with some tweets receiving over a thousand likes and a number of encouraging replies.
University of Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman tweeted Friday afternoon, “There are no words to adequately express the sadness in my heart. In the face of unspeakable adversity and hardship, Bobby brought life and optimism to every room he entered. He was a warrior, a leader, and an inspiration to all. I will never forget him. Love you, 97.”
The university did not immediately release Roundtree’s cause of death.
Since the announcement, fellow players and members of the Illini community have reached out to share condolences and messages of inspiration on Twitter: