Mississippi State University football player Samuel Westmoreland died at the age of just 18, mere days before he would have turned 19 on Friday, according to the Mississippi State Athletics website. He played as an offensive lineman on the school's team
The cause of his death is currently unclear.
Capt. Brett Watson with the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Office informed the Clarion Ledger that authorities responded to a call on Wednesday. The young man was found dead outside Blackjack Missionary Baptist Church. Foul play is not suspected as a factor.
"The university is working cooperatively with the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Office, the Oktibbeha County Coroner's Office, the MSU Division of Student Affairs, and the MSU Athletics Department to determine the facts of this incident and will have no further comment until that assessment is completed," the post on the Mississippi State Athletics website noted.
"The Mississippi State Athletics Family is heartbroken by the sudden death of Sam Westmoreland," MSU head football coach Mike Leach said in a statement. "Sam was a beloved son, brother and teammate, and a tremendous young man with a limitless future. He will always be remembered and deeply missed by everyone who knew and loved him. The entire MSU Family mourns as our thoughts and prayers go out to the Westmoreland family. Our highest priority is the support of the Westmoreland family and our student-athletes during this troubling time."
"One of the most profound lessons I've learned while leading this great university is that the tragic loss of one of our students diminishes all of our students—and all of us at Mississippi State feel the impact of Sam Westmoreland's death," MSU President Mark E. Keenum said, according to the school. "My prayers are with Sam's family and friends, with his MSU teammates and coaches, and with the Tupelo community during this most difficult time."
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