WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Friends and neighbors in Sean Matti's Minnesota hometown are shocked about his death. Matti's high school football coach said Sean cared more about his teammates than himself.
The unexpected death has also stunned the Purdue Athletics' Department. News of the 22-year-old running back's death is having an emotional impact on his teammates.
"We extend our hands to help in any way we can during this period of grief for Sean and the despair the family must feel over losing a young person with such a bright future in front of him," said Purdue Athletic Director Morgan Burke.
Football was one of Matti's passions. In high school, he earned all-state and all-conference honors. He was an all-state and all-conference pick after amassing 120 tackles his junior year. Roseville High School's football coach said it was Matti's unselfishness that made him a leader on the field.
"He cared more about his teammates than I think he did about himself at times. He was very unselfish. Definitely was the heart and soul of our football team and was a leader around the Roseville High School area also," said coach Chris Simdorn.
Those comments are echoed off the field also. Purdue student and friend Marissa Stautz said Matti's passion for the university as a whole was evident.
"Sean really welcomed me into the Boilermaker family. When I got there, he helped show me around campus. We celebrate our birthdays together because they're really close to each other. We had some good times at Purdue," said Stautz.
"We're definitely going to miss him a lot," said Simdorn.
Purdue Head Football Coach Danny Hope released this statement on Tuesday:
"Purdue football is a family, and I am terribly saddened by the loss of one of our young men. Sally's and my prayers continue to go out to Sean's family and all his friends and loved ones. He was a special young man whose positive spirit will be a part of our program forever."
A campus and community memorial service will be held for Sean Matti Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. at Saint Thomas Aquinas, located at 535 West State Street in West Lafayette.
The football team is also planning a moment of silence before the season opening game on September 3.
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