Vigil held for U of M football player

2:51 PM, Apr 7, 2012   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - About a hundred people showed up Friday night, at times overwhelmed by grief, outside of Gary Tinsley's apartment building to mourn his passing.

"I miss him a lot. I wish he was still here with me. He was like one of my brothers," said teammate Troy Stoudermier as he wiped away tears.

One after the other, friends and teammates spoke of a man they lovingly called G.T.

Coach Jerry Kill attended the candle light vigil as well but did not speak to the crowd.

Tinsley's roommate, Keanon Cooper told stories about a man who had a strong faith.

"He thanked the Lord. He lived it like it was his last and he worked his butt off," he told the crowd.

Cooper found Tinsley's lifeless body on his bedroom floor in Wilkins Hall Friday morning and called police.

It is still unknown what caused Tinsley's death.

Investigators found no evidence foul play was a factor, but they are calling his death "suspicious" since it is unusual that a young athlete would pass away suddenly. Investigators hope to learn more after an autopsy is completed.

The 22-year old middle linebacker had become one of the defensive leaders for the Gophers, starting all 12 games this past season and finishing second in tackles.

At an afternoon news conference, Athletic Director Joel Maturi spoke about Tinsley during the good times and the bad.

Earlier in his career, Tinsley got in trouble with police on multiple occasions, but Maturi says he turned a corner as of late and was on track for a bright future.

"(He) loved life, he said as tears welled up in his eyes. "And he always made me feel good. And I think he made others feel good as well."

Tinsley was to graduate next month with a degree in marketing and business. The university will now award him the degree posthumously. He is the first in his family to graduate from college, according to his friends.

"We'll all get through this. We'll all get through this," said one teammate.

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