Geno Hayes, a former linebacker with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Florida State Seminoles, has passed away from liver disease.
He was 33.
The Buccaneers confirmed the news of Hayes' passing in a tweet on Tuesday.
"Geno was a beloved teammate and often the first player to volunteer his time to our efforts in the community," the team said in a statement. "He frequently visited schools and had a remarkable ability to connect with children. Losing him at such a young age is heartbreaking."
Hayes, the father of a 13 and 8-year-old, told ESPN that he'd been battling liver disease for two years and was waiting for a transplant.
He'd also been placed on a waiting list for a transplant at the Mayo Clinic and Northwestern Medicine.
Hayes suspected the use of nonprescription pain medications caused his condition, combined with a family history of liver disease, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
Hayes was moved into hospice care last week.
Drafted in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, Hayes played seven seasons in the NFL, having played for the Bucs, Chicago Bears, and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
According to the NFL's website, he finished his pro career with 361 tackles, 10 sacks, six interceptions, and one defensive touchdown.
Condolences from former players and other figures in college football began rolling in after they received word of his passing.
Madison County head football coach Mike Coe also confirmed Hayes' passing with EW Scripps' WTXL.