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College Football Hall Of Famer, Former NFL DT Gabriel Rivera Dead At 57

A general view of Texas Tech's football stadium.

LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 12: A general view of play between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Jones AT&T Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Gabriel Rivera, the man nicknamed "Senor Sack" who was the Southwest Conference's Defensive Player of the Year in 1982, has passed away. He was 57.

According to, Rivera fell ill on Friday night after attending a charity function at Inner City Development Center in San Antonio. He was hospitalized since then with a perforated bowel and colon.

Rivera passed away on Monday.

Rivera was a first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1983 after an All-American season at Texas Tech. Unfortunately, his career was cut short by a tragic accident that left him paralyzed.

Rivera was driving drunk on Oct. 20, 1983 when he crossed the center line on the road on the way back from a Steelers practice. He collided with another car.

Fortunately, the other driver wasn't hurt, but Rivera was rendered a paraplegic as a result of the crash. He played in only six NFL games.

After his accident, Rivera dedicated much of his time to charity work, particularly in his native San Antonio. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Rivera's friends and family.