Former NFL Safety William White passed away at the age of 56. He played 11 seasons with the Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, and Atlanta Falcons. White was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in 2016. Read on to know what happened to him and how did he die.
The Lions announced the news of veteran William White’s death on Thursday night on Twitter.
“We share in the sadness felt today throughout the NFL community following the news of William White’s passing. Drafted by the Lions in the 4th round of the 1988 Draft out of Ohio State, White played 6 seasons in Detroit (1988-1993) & appeared in 95 games (79 starts) for the club,” reads the Tweet.
Lions’ special assistant to president/CEO Chris Spielman stated in the statement, “I loved William.”
He adds, “We shared experiences of joy and sorrow on and off the field. He was and always will be my brother. 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. I can’t wait to see him again when he will be free from ALS. May God’s peace rest upon his family”
Tributes have been pouring in ever since the news emerged. The NFL universe is heartbroken over the NFL veteran’s unfortunate demise.
How did William White Die?
William White passed away on Thursday, July 28, 2022, after battling ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis for over six years. He was diagnosed with progressive nervous system disease in 2016 when he was fifty years old.
White was undergoing treatment for the disease but his body couldn’t keep up with it. This disorder makes the nerve cells become weakened and body muscles lose their functionality. That’s why the late defensive back was completely bedridden during his final days.
The cause of ALS is unknown. However, it’s possible that White’s history in American Football worked as a triggering factor. His role often involved tackling people and that made an impact on his body continuously.
White did an interview with Eleven Warriors in 2018 where he revealed that he had no regrets about playing football.
“It may have something to do with it, but hey, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “If I knew I would have got this, I would have still played the game, because I loved it, and smacking people in the mouth was fun to me,” he said.
“I’m not allowed to say that now,” White stated with a laugh, “but hey, that’s why God made sure I was born in ‘66 instead of ‘86.”
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ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) was William White’s Cause of Death
William White was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is a nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function. White likely got it due to his history playing as a defensive back in NFL.
The nerve cells break down in this disease and this reduces functionality in the muscles that they supply. Muscle weakness is the main symptom while the treatment includes medication and therapy. However, there’s no definite cure.
White battled ALS for six years after being diagnosed in 2016. His condition got worst over time and his body gave up this Thursday, eventually.
William White Early Life and NFL Career
William Eugene White was born on February 19, 1966, in Powell, Ohio. The American football safety played in eleven NFL seasons between 1988 to 1998. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 1988 NFL Draft out of Ohio State by the Lions.
He played together with the present CEO Spielman, a middle linebacker who got drafted in the same year. The duo became a stable of the Lions’ defensive starting lineup by the second season. White played for six years in Detroit. He started in 79 out of 95 games and produced 450 tackles with 13 interceptions.
In 1994, White was traded from the Lions to Kansas City Chiefs. He joined the Chiefs for the next three seasons. Later, he finished out his career with a couple of campaigns with the Atlanta Falcons in 1997 and 1998. He started for them in Super Bowl XXXIII.
In his glorious career, White played in 170 games and started in 132 out of them. He produced 721 tackles and 20 interceptions. He also saw the postseason five times in his career. White led Falcon to a memorable victory in the NFC championship in his last season.
After his retirement, White came back to Ohio and started living with his family. He also created a fund at Ohio State to support ALS research at the university.
William White is Survived by his Wife and Children
William White is survived by his wife Nikol, and children William Jr., Brendon, and Brea. Brendon is also a football player. He was a safety at Ohio State before getting transferred to Rutgers.
White’s family and friends are saddened about his passing. May God grant them strength and peace to the departed soul. Our condolences go out to the legend.