CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Former Illini defensive lineman Bobby Roundtree died Friday, just over two years since being severely injuring his spine in a boating accident. He was 23.
Roundtree played two season for the Illini, totaling 11.5 sacks in 20 starts. More importantly, Roundtree inspired many while he went through rehabilitation.
“All of us with Illinois Athletics are shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Bobby Roundtree,” said UI Director of Athletics Josh Whitman. “From his first day on campus, Bobby was a leader. His work ethic, competitive fire, and drive for excellence set him apart. Following his tragic accident, those same qualities allowed him to tackle his new challenges with the same vigor and determination that we had seen on the football field. In so doing, he continued to bring light and inspiration to the lives of those around him — and, in fact, to so many people who had never had the pleasure of meeting him.
“In the face of incredible adversity, he demonstrated he was, and always will remain, a true champion. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. We will support them, and our players, coaches, and staff who knew him well, as we struggle to understand this terrible news and, ultimately, look to celebrate the remarkable young leader we have lost.”
His former teammates and coaches reacted to the news on social media Friday, filling #97Strong on Twitter with pictures and memories.
Roundtree’s family was raising money throughout Bobby’s recovery to pay for his medical expenses. If you would like to donate to help the family at this time, you can do so here.