UTEP tight end Luke Laufenberg died Thursday at the age of 21.
Laufenberg, the son of former NFL quarterback Babe Laufenberg, had been diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma, a rare form of the blood cancer, in late 2017.
Today we lost a son, a brother, a friend, and a warrior. Have never seen a person battle like Luke Laufenberg, but he lost his fight with cancer. He was truly inspirational. The hole in our hearts will never be filled. You are my hero. RIP my sweet Luke. See you on the other side pic.twitter.com/HF1xfw19Xi— Babe Laufenberg (@BabeLaufenberg) August 22, 2019
Laufenberg originally enrolled at Texas A&M but transferred to a community college ahead of the 2017 season. After Babe Laufenberg had tweeted in May of 2018 that Luke was cancer free, Luke signed with UTEP in February of 2019 with the goal of playing in the upcoming season.
That goal unfortunately didn’t happen. He was told over the summer that the cancer had returned and his diagnosis was terminal. He was still worried about the Miners’ fall practices though. Tight ends coach Jake Waters told the El Paso Times that he talked to Laufenberg last week and he wanted to know all about fall practice.
"Having all that he went through, his first question to me was, 'How's the team doing? How's the tight end and fullbacks doing? Can I get some tape on my phone to watch my brothers, watch my guys to see how they're doing?'" Waters said.
"He followed us through Ruidoso, following everything, and his first thought going through all this was how his brothers were doing. That tells you all you need to know about Luke Laufenberg."
Babe Laufenberg played for five NFL teams over a career that spanned from 1983-90. He played his final two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and is currently the color analyst for the team’s radio broadcasts.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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