Mississippi State announces death of freshman offensive lineman

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State football announced Wednesday that freshman offensive lineman Sam Westmoreland died suddenly. He was 19.

Westmoreland was a native of Tupelo, Mississippi, and attended Tupelo High School.

‘The Mississippi State athletics family is heartbroken by the sudden death of Sam Westmoreland,’ football coach Mike Leach said in a release. ‘Sam was a beloved son, brother and teammate, and a tremendous young man with a limitless future. He will always be remembered and deeply missed by everyone who knew and loved him. The entire MSU Family mourns as our thoughts and prayers go out to the Westmoreland family. Our highest priority is the support of the Westmoreland family and our student-athletes during this troubling time.’

Leach did not participate in the SEC coaches teleconference Wednesday morning. Mississippi State has canceled its post-practice media availability Wednesday.

‘We are heartbroken by the sudden loss of Sam Westmoreland,’ athletic director John Cohen said. ‘Mississippi State is a family, and we are all mourning during this trying time. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Westmoreland family and everyone who knew and loved Sam.’

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Mississippi State did not release any details regarding his death. The university is working with the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Office, the MSU Division of Student Affairs and the MSU athletics department to determine the facts, according to the release.

‘One of the most profound lessons I’ve learned while leading this great university is that the tragic loss of one of our students diminishes all of our students — and all of us at Mississippi State feel the impact of Sam Westmoreland’s death,’ Mississippi State president Mark Keenum added. ‘My prayers are with Sam’s family and friends, with his MSU teammates and coaches, and with the Tupelo community during this most difficult time.’

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