12:50 PM ET
Alex ScarboroughESPN Staff Writer
- Covers the SEC.
- Joined ESPN in 2012.
- Graduate of Auburn University.
Alabama superfan Walt Gary died Thursday night at the age of 36.
Gary, a Tuscaloosa native with Down syndrome, became a fixture of the football program under former coach Gene Stallings, who was a father to a son with Down syndrome and welcomed Gary to practices.
Under coach Nick Saban, Gary would visit with the team on Thursdays before games, greeting players and even giving Saban his score predictions.
“Walt is one of the people that, in my opinion, project the spirit and tradition of Alabama football,” Saban told ESPN’s College GameDay in 2018.
Saban said in a statement Friday that Gary was “beloved by everyone on our team, in our athletic department and throughout the Alabama family.”
Thursdays will never be the same.
Rest In Peace, Walt. pic.twitter.com/ipjxgkrnEn
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) June 7, 2019
Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne earlier tweeted news of Gary’s death on Friday morning, noting how “full of joy” Gary was as well as his love for the Crimson Tide.
Several former players also posted on social media about how much a part of the program Gary had become.
Gonna miss Walt ! This was my guy since day one. I was always the best TE in America in his eyes. Love you brotha RIP🙏🏽 https://t.co/OnrI3TkJxz
— OJ Howard 80 ™ (@TheRealOjHoward) June 7, 2019
Incredibly saddened by the news of the passing of our friend Walt Gary. Nobody loved the Alabama football team more than he did. His spirit will forever live on through the program! Seeing him before every game was nothing but motivation! Love and prayers to his entire family❤️ pic.twitter.com/rSRETuL1nm
— Damien Harris (@DHx34) June 7, 2019
RIP Walt Gary what an amazing soul , one person can really@make you appreciate life continue to be joyful and rest easy 🙏🏾
— jarran reed (@1j_reed) June 7, 2019
Heartbroken by the passing of our good buddy Walt Gary! It was always a great joy seeing him every Thursday! Walt was a light in this world, always made you smile and was truly Alabama’s biggest fan. Praying for his sweet mother Betsy and their family! You will be missed Walt! 💔 pic.twitter.com/rNw9YtEh8d
— Christian Miller (@christianmillr) June 7, 2019