Bobby Roundtree, a former Illinois football standout, died at the age of 23
In May of this year, got paralysed after jumping into shallow water near John’s Pass in Madeira Beach, Florida.
A former Illinois star defensive end who sustained a catastrophic spinal cord damage in a swimming accident two years ago, died Friday, according to the university. He was 23 years old at the time.
Roundtree, who was a standout for the Fighting Illini during his two seasons with the school, died in the Tampa Bay area, although the cause of death was not immediately known.
IN A CAR CRASH, A FORMER MARSHALL FOOTBALL STANDOUT DIES.
“The sudden departure of Bobby Roundtree has shocked and saddened all of us at Illinois Athletics,” Director of Athletics Josh Whitman said in a statement.
“A leader from the day he arrived on college. He stands out because of his work ethic, competitive spirit, and desire for perfection.”
The Illini Family has lost one of its inspirational leaders with the passing of Bobby Roundtree Friday in the Tampa Bay area.
— Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) July 16, 2021
After that, he was hurt on May 18, 2019, when he dove into the sea near John’s Pass in Madeira Beach, Florida, but the water was too shallow, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The jump rendered Roundtree paralysed, effectively ending his promising football career.
There are no words to adequately express the sadness in my heart. 💔 In the face of unspeakable adversity and hardship, Bobby brought life and optimism to every room he entered. He was a warrior, a leader, and an inspiration to all. I will never forget him. Love you, 97. 🧡💙 pic.twitter.com/QSZKGzcZWs
— Josh Whitman (@IlliniAD) July 16, 2021
“Following his horrific accident, he was able to handle his new problems with the same zeal and dedication that he displayed on the football field subsequently.
As a result, he continued to bring light and inspiration into the lives of those around him — and, in fact, to a large number of individuals who had never met him “Whitman stated the following.
Roundtree had used social media to track his 18-month recuperation. Roundtree sent out one final uplifting message the day before he died.
“Remain humble while ELEVATING.”
Stay humble and keep ELEVATING🚀
— Bobby Roundtree (@BobbyRoundtr97) July 16, 2021
Roundtree started all 24 games as a freshman and sophomore, totaling 116 tackles and 11.5 sacks in the process. He tied for the team lead in sacks in 2017.
Named Illinois’ Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year the following year. Also named to the All-Big Ten team as an honourable mention.