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Recently retired Gophers football player Nick Connelly dies at 22

September 20, 2018

Former Gophers offensive tackle Nick Connelly died Wednesday after a three-month battle with cancer, his father, Chuck Connelly, announced in a statement on Twitter on Thursday morning.

On Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018, Heaven needed a right tackle and Nick Connelly got the call, Chuck Connellys statement read. Nick was diagnosed with Burkitts lymphoma in June 2018. Burkitts is a very rare, aggressive cancer. Nick was winning the battle through aggressive chemotherapy until the cancer became resistant to all chemo regimens. Nick was a beautiful big strong young athlete with a very kind heart and a great smile.

Connelly, a former Red Wing High School standout, had turned 22 on Monday.

He started five games for the Gophers last year as a redshirt sophomore but retired from football because of concussions. His last game for the Gophers was Oct. 7 game at Purdue during which he suffered a concussion.

Nick enjoyed his friends, hunting, ducks, geese, deer and pheasants with his dad and brothers and eating moms cooking, Chuck Connellys statement continued. Nick also enjoyed playing football for his home state team Minnesota Golden Gophers. Nicks other enjoyments included snowboarding in the mountains, grilling, smoking meat and cooking. Nick attended River Valley Church in downtown Minneapolis.

Our heart breaks and is devastated with losing Nick, the statement continued. We want to thank the thousands of friends, family and complete strangers from across the entire country today that extended their prayers, kindness and love to Nick and our family. Nick and we were amazed and appreciative at the amount of public notice for Nicks support. Thank you!

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