Chicago Bears defensive end, Gaines Adams, died in South Carolina Sunday morning (January 17) after going into cardiac arrest due to an enlarged heart, said reports.
He was just 26 years of age.
According to ESPN, Adams was reportedly rushed to the emergency room at Self Regional Hospital in Greenwood, S.C. early Sunday, where he was pronounced dead at 9:00 a.m.
"We are stunned and saddened by the news of Gaines' passing. Our prayers are with his family during this difficult time," the Bears said in a statement.
Adams was the fourth overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who traded him to the Bears last October.
"I remember him at the 2007 Draft as a fine young man," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "Our condolences to Gaines' family, his teammates on the Bears and Buccaneers and their organizations on their loss."
Adams made 67 tackles, including 13 sacks, in 47 NFL games. He had one sack in 15 games with the Bucs, and Bears in the just-completed NFL season.
Below are reactions from his teammates and coaches, according to the Chicago Tribute:
Bears' Brian Urlacher: "I didn't know him that well because he came in during the middle of the season, but I did know him. I still saw him every day when I went into work. It's just weird ... I had a teammate die when I was in college. You just don't know how to handle it. It's just sad, man. It's a bad deal."
Bears' Alex Brown: "Please send out your prayers to Gaines Adams family he was a great teammate and will be missed. Cherish life, we only get one. God Bless!"
Bears' Jason McKie: "Please keep Gaines Adams family in your prayers he was a great person and teammate ... life is too short ... we love you Gaines."
Former Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks: "All the time he was in Tampa it was always about him as a player and what he did and didn't do as the fourth pick in the draft. The people didn't get to know who he really was or how connected he was with his hometown and how he was starting to work toward giving back to his community. That's some of the stuff that I talked to him about -- how to go about giving back and making a mark in the community. Hopefully he was far enough along with that that he'll still have an impact."
Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris: "Gaines will be missed by all of us, especially by his teammates in our locker room. He was a true team player and a positive influence to everyone he met. My prayers go out to his family."
Buccaneers Cornerback Ronde Barber: "Gaines was a quiet, humble kid and is far too young to be gone. He had so much potential that had yet to be achieved and I am very sad that the full extent of his life won't be realized."
Former Clemson assistant coach Ron West: "This was the kind of kid that you wanted to be your son. He was a beautiful kid. ... You never got any bad reports on him, academically. He was an overachiever, academically. He got his degree. Just a tremendous kid. ... I know Gaines has a little boy, and the little boy was very special to him. I know his family is very special to him. He was very committed to his family."