Over the weekend, the Minnesota Vikings experienced the tragic loss of offensive line coach Tony Sparano. The veteran NFL coach passed away early Sunday morning at age 56.
Over the weekend, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that Sparano had gone to the hospital last Thursday complaining of chest pains. He was released on Friday. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Sparano’s wife found him unresponsive Sunday morning.
According to the Hennepin County medical examiner, via ESPN, Sparano died of arteriosclerotic heart disease.
According to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, Minnesota OL coach Tony Sparano died Sunday from arteriosclerotic heart disease.https://t.co/yHB1N1Ec62
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 24, 2018
Sparano worked in the NFL for more than 20 years after a five-year stint as the head football coach at New Haven. He was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2008-11 and the interim head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2014.
His death led to a series of moving tributes from former players.
"I owe my career to Tony Sparano." – @ShaunOHara60
?: @GMFB/NFLNetwork pic.twitter.com/CApkV6ATx0
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) July 24, 2018
I am forever grateful to have had Tony Sparano in my life. He believed in hard work, honesty, & the power of people working together for a common purpose & goal. Reading the words of his players & my teammates confirms the impact Coach had on all of us. We love you Coach!
— Chad Pennington (@ChadPennington) July 23, 2018
I was honored to battle with you. My heart is unbelievably broken for you family, because I know how close you all were. I’m gonna miss those text messages: but you made a lasting impression on all those who grew to know you. Much luv coach Spo pic.twitter.com/h27pFPtAKo
— Marcel Reece (@CelReece45) July 22, 2018
Sparano’s death is an absolute tragedy. The Vikings somehow have to open training camp with their rookies on Tuesday after this happened as well.