Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from www.purplePTSD writer and editor of purplePTSD and VikingsTerritory, Joe Oberle.
Terrible news came out Vikings headquarters on Sunday, as the organization announced the passing of offensive line coach Tony Sparano on Sunday morning. Sparano, according to a report ESPN’s Chris Mortenson, had gone to the hospital on Thursday after complaining about chest pains. He was released, but unfortunately succumbed and was found unconscious in his home by his wife before the two were to head off to church.
“I am at a loss for words with Tony’s sudden passing,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. “Tony loved the game of football and his players. More importantly, he was a strong man of faith who treasured his family. My heart is with the Sparanos today. As an organization we will support them in whatever ways we can.”
The news comes just two days before the Vikings rookies were expected to report to summer Training Camp at the team’s new Eagan complex on Tuesday. Sparano, 56, was preparing to lead the offensive line unit (as he has since 2016) as the team began preparations for a defense of their NFC North Division title. The news of his passing is blow to the entire organization.
“I love Tony Sparano,” Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said. “He was a great teacher, a grinder of a worker and had a toughness and fighting spirit that showed in our linemen. He was a great husband, father and grandfather and a great friend to me. This is just sinking in for us but Tony will be sorely missed by all.”
Tony is survived by his wife, Jeanette, his two sons; Tony and Andrew, his daughter, Ryan Leigh, and four grandchildren. Sparano was born October 7, 1961.
“Our hearts go out to Jeanette and the entire Sparano family as we all mourn the loss of Tony,” said a statement from Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf. “Tony was a passionate and driven individual who cared deeply about his family, and especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. Tony’s presence within the Vikings organization will be deeply missed. We are only thinking of Tony’s family during this incredibly difficult time. We ask that the entire NFL and Vikings family keep the Sparanos in their thoughts.”
The organization said that the Sparano family requested privacy at the present time, and The Vikings will provide further updates when appropriate.