Ruffin Rodrigue Jr., a former LSU football player and owner of popular Baton Rouge restaurant Ruffino’s, has died.
“Ruffino’s is saddened to announce that our owner and founder Ruffin Rodrigue Jr. passed away unexpectedly last night,” the restaurant’s official Instagram account posted this morning. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”
Rodrigue played guard for the Tigers from 1986-89, winning two SEC Championships with the program. He’d enter the restaurant industry after finishing his football career, opening Ruffino’s, an incredibly popular Italian steakhouse in Baton Rouge, in 2000.
He was also a very popular figure within the LSU football community. After hearing the news, LSU football coach Ed Orgeron paid his respects to Rodrigue online.
Our whole LSU family is mourning the loss of a great friend and a great Tiger. Ruffin, you will be sorely missed by us all. Rest In Peace
— Coach Ed Orgeron (@Coach_EdOrgeron) November 25, 2020
According to WBRZ-TV, during a call today, Orgeron said he was “crushed” when he heard the news about Rodrigue, calling him “a tremendous person to be around.”
The LSU football coach is not alone in feeling that way. Numerous messages of support have been sent in the hour that the news has been out there.
So sad. Friday night at Ruffino’s was the only way for us out-of-towners to get ready for LSU/Bama. Prayers for him and the family.
— Matt Schick (@ESPN_Schick) November 25, 2020
"What a shame. We were crushed this morning when we heard the news," #LSU coach Ed Orgeron says on loss of Ruffin Rodrigue, a former Tigers football player and owner of Ruffino's restaurant.
— Jerit Roser (@JeritRoser) November 25, 2020
As many of you know, there was only one place to be on Friday night of a big LSU home game weekend in Baton Rouge, it was Ruffino’s.
Anybody who was anybody was there.
RIP to a legend. https://t.co/QOPS86b8Dp
— Peter Burns (@PeterBurnsESPN) November 25, 2020
Man, I’m so devastated to hear about Ruff. He was the kindest, most genuine soul. He cared for our community and loved everyone. I am praying for his family. Miss you, Big Fella 😥
RIP Ruff 😓 pic.twitter.com/NpfauPNvEM
— Jordy Culotta (@JordyCulotta) November 25, 2020
We are saddened to learn the news of Ruffin's passing. A frequent guest on our airwaves over the years, Ruffin had a passion for sports, people, and celebrating life.
Our thoughts & prayers are with his family and loved ones at this time. https://t.co/i7InwPj9Vz
— ESPN 1420 (@espn1420) November 25, 2020
Saturday Ruff texted me this video of him in amazement of this catch @glrush3 made. This was pure Ruff. Pure emotion. Every Wednesday night my wife & mom go to Ruffino’s. Ruff wasn’t like family. He is family. We will miss him, but are so grateful we had him in our lives. pic.twitter.com/WJ43APV1hT
— Derek Ponamsky (@DerekPonamsky) November 25, 2020
According to The Advocate, Ruffin Rodrigue was active in advocating for grants and other monetary relief to support a local restaurant industry that has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic this year.
Our thoughts go out to his family and everyone in the Baton Rouge and LSU communities that have been impacted by this tragic loss.