Former NFL and Virginia Tech safety Keion Carpenter died Thursday morning. He was 39.
Carpenter, who collapsed after suffering a brain aneurysm while running in Florida during a family vacation, died at Jackson South Community Hospital in Miami.
“It is with regret that we as a family announce that at 6:47 am Keion Eric Carpenter was pronounced dead, at Jackson South Community Hospital in Miami, Florida. Keion collapsed while on a family vacation and remained in a coma for 24 hours. Keion(‘s) remains will be flown back to Baltimore for burial,” read a statement released by Carpenter’s family, per FoxBaltimore.com.
The Baltimore native was a star at Virginia Tech before a six year NFL career with the Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons.
Carpenter, who signed with the Bills in 1999 as an undrafted free agent, played three seasons in Buffalo. He had a career-high five interceptions in 2000 for the Bills. He then played three more seasons with the Falcons. He played in 83 games during his NFL career – starting 61 – and finished with 14 interceptions.
“Cheryl and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Keion Carpenter,” former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said in a statement. “Keion was one of the rocks around which we built our program at Virginia Tech in the 1990s.”
Beamer called Carpenter a “tenacious punt blocker and a relentless player on defense.”
Carpenter holds the school record with six blocked punts.
Following his playing days, Carpenter turned to philanthrophy and started The Carpenter House charity in Maryland to aid families from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“His work with The Carpenter House and other charitable organizations to help those in need truly embodied the Virginia Tech spirit,” Beamer said.