Last week, Illinois announced that football coach Bret Bielema's mother, Marilyn, passed away. Unfortunately, his family received more heartbreaking news this week.
Bielema's wife, Jen, announced on Thursday night that she lost her father. She posted a heartfelt message on Twitter in his honor.
"My dad was a tremendously special man with a zest for life. He was full of love, optimism, laughter, courage, and so much more," she wrote. "I’m especially thankful for all the memories we shared together and proud to be your daughter and your little pumpkin. I love you, Dad!"
Bielema responded to his wife's post with this message: "He was beyond special @jenbielema and he loved you more than words describe. Love you Greg and I will always take care of your family."
The college football world is understandably heartbroken for the Bielema family. They've dealt with so many hardships over the past seven days.
"So sorry for your loss. Keeping your family in my prayers during this difficult time," one person tweeted.
"Jen, I’m so sorry that your family has been engulfed by such sorrow in a time of celebrating family," another person commented. "Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. All the best in this unspeakably difficult time."
"Have never met you or your father. But the sparkle in both of your eyes tells me all I need to know," a third person wrote. "The Illini community grieves with you but also will lift you up. Prayers."
Bielema will be coaching with a heavy heart this Saturday against Northwestern.
Our thoughts are with the Bielema family during this difficult time.