By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Alabama Crimson Tide superfan Walt Gary passed away on Thursday. He was 36.
An official cause of death has not been announced yet. He was in a coma at the UAB Hospital’s intensive care unit, according to Tuscaloosanews.com, when he died.
He was bleeding from his brain, according to his grandmother Betsy Shirley, before his death.
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“He was always so full of joy and loved the Crimson Tide,” Alabama Athletic Director Greg Byrne wrote on Twitter following Gary’s death. “We will miss seeing him around the department.”
Gary died on the same day that he would traditionally meet with the Crimson Tide would meet with Nick Saban and the football players during football season before 7 pm local time. He would have a brief conversation with Saban, where he would give the legendary coach a prediction for the upcoming game.
“I’m proud of the coaches and players both,” Gary told ESPN in 2018. “These people are my friends and I know what they can do.”
Gary was born with Down syndrome — and was featured on ESPN several times. He spent more than 20 years meeting the Crimson Tide players and coaches.
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According to the story, His mother reached out to former Alabama coach Gene Stallings — who is a family friend with a son John Mark with Down syndrome. The two spent time together and would invite the superfan to practices.
“This kid is always happy and then when he sees a football player, it’s like he becomes more (happier) and when he becomes super happy, it’s like it starts to become contagious,” quarterback Tua Tagovailoa told ESPN for a piece last year.
As Alabama prepares for the upcoming 2019 season, their superfan will not be with them. However, will be there with them in spirit.
“Walt is one of the people that, in my opinion, project the spirit and tradition of Alabama football,” Saban told ESPN.
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