Former NFL player Chris Smith has died suddenly at just 31 years old.
Smith was a defensive end in the NFL for eight seasons before moving to the XFL until his death.
The football star’s unexpected death was announced by West Rowan High School in North Carolina, where Smith attended.
Smith passed away just hours after playing for the Seattle Sea Dragons in the XFL.
The cause of death has yet to be revealed.
However, he was not known to be suffering from any illnesses and appeared to be in good health during his game a few hours prior to his death.
“Rest in Peace to a West Rowan legend!” tweeted West Rowan High School’s official football account.
“Chris was a better person than he was player!
“The impact he had on those around him will be remembered forever!”
Rest in Peace to a West Rowan Legend! Chris was a better person than he was player! The impact he had on those around him will be remembered forever! pic.twitter.com/9oVKyM4Gs2
— West Rowan Football (@WRowan_Football) April 18, 2023
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wrote on Twitter: “I was so sorry to hear this news.
“Heartbroken for Chris’ family.
“Our entire XFL universe sends it love, light and strength to the Smith family.
“Stay strong. We are here. DJ.”
I was so sorry to hear this news.
Heartbroken for Chris’ family.
Our entire XFL universe sends it love, light and strength to the Smith family.
Stay strong. We are here. dj https://t.co/VUwYIjMCxf
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) April 18, 2023
Smith’s death was confirmed by the Salisbury Post.
Playing in the NFL from 2014-21, Smith suited up for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Las Vegas Raiders, and Houston Texans.
Rest in paradise Chris Smith. Hometown hero and a brother to everyone. Such a kind soul. This is Heartbreaking
— Chief David Njoku (@David_Njoku80) April 18, 2023
Chris Smith only played eight games for the Raiders (2020) but made an impression. Great dude who overcome adversity and had a very positive spirit. He was 31. RIP. https://t.co/5WrTxAjh1N
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) April 18, 2023
Being named Second-Team All-SEC in 2013 with the Arkansas Razorbacks, Smith was drafted by the Jaguars in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
This season, Smith played in four XFL games with the Seattle Sea Dragons, tallying five tackles with the team.
Smith’s girlfriend and the mother of one of his three children, Petara Cordero, died in 2019 when she was struck by a vehicle as she was getting out of her car.