Former NFL defensive star William White dead at 56

The professional football world lost a legend this week.

According to Fox News, William White, a former standout safety for the NFL’s Detroit Lions, succumbed to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) after a hard-fought, six-year battle with the disease. 

White was only 56 at the time of his death. The former star defensive player was loved on and off the field, and remained a cornerstone of Lions football throughout the years.

White’s impact

It was in the fourth round of the 1988 NFL Draft that White received the call that would change his life — a call from the Detroit Lions.

Though he would also later play with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Atlanta Falcons, White’s legacy was already imprinted with Detroit, and that can be seen in the touching statement published by the team regarding White’s passing.

Lions special assistant to president/CEO Chris Spielman couldn’t say enough good about White.

“I loved William,” Spielman said. “We shared experiences of joy and sorrow on and off the field. He was and always will be my brother.”

Speilman added: “I am forever grateful for the special moment last year when he was able to be by my side during the Pride of the Lions ceremony at Ford Field.”

Tributes flood social media

White’s loss was felt around the league, and even his days at Ohio State left an impact on many, including Ohio State Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletic Director Gene Smith.

“RIP William White. A great person and Buckeye. Thank you for all you gave us!” Smith tweeted.

White is survived by his wife, Nikol, daughter, Brea, and sons William Jr., and Brendon.

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