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NFL world mourns loss of coach Tony Sparano

Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano died unexpectedly on Sunday at the age of 56.

The announcement of Sparano’s death came from the Vikings in a statement:

With deep regret the Minnesota Vikings announce that Offensive Line Coach Tony Sparano unexpectedly passed away early this morning.

“Our hearts go out to Jeanette and the entire Sparano family as we all mourn the loss of Tony. Tony was a passionate and driven individual who cared deeply about his family, and especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. Tony’s presence within the Vikings organization will be deeply missed. We are only thinking of Tony’s family during this incredibly difficult time. We ask that the entire NFL and Vikings family keep the Sparanos in their thoughts.” – Vikings Owners Mark and Zygi Wilf

Sparano began his NFL coaching career in 1999 with stints as a head coach with the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders. Tony served as the Vikings offensive line coach since 2016. Tony played collegiately at the University of New Haven where he was a four-year letterman. Sparano was named New Haven’s head coach in 1994 and held the position for five seasons.

Tony is survived by his wife, Jeanette, his two sons; Tony and Andrew, his daughter, Ryan Leigh, and four grandchildren. Sparano was born October 7, 1961. He was 56 years old.

ESPN reported that Sparano had complained about chest pains and went to the hospital Thursday, and after undergoing tests he was released Friday. Just two days later, on Sunday morning, Sparano’s wife found him unconscious in their kitchen as they were preparing to leave for church. She tried CPR, but was unable to revive him.

Reaction immediately started to come in on social media from many of the NFL players who knew Sparano or played for him.

Sparano is survived by his wife, Jeanette; his two sons, Tony and Andrew; his daughter, Ryan Leigh; and four grandchildren.

Join us in praying for the Sparano family during this difficult time.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” — Psalm 34:18