Former Minnesota Vikings player Orlando Thomas passed away from ALS Sunday night at the age of 42.
Thomas, who played with the Vikings for 7 years after attending the now Louisiana-Lafayette, started in the league in 1995, he led the NFL with 9 interceptions that season.
He retired from the team after the 2001 season ended
Thomas was diagnosed with ALS in 2007 and fought a long and valiant battle with the disease. His agent, Mark Bartelstein said Thomas was down to 70lbs when he passed away.
The Vikings released a statement on the team website:
“The Vikings are deeply saddened by the loss of Orlando Thomas. Orlando was an outstanding player for the Vikings for seven years, but more importantly, he represented the franchise and the state of Minnesota with the utmost dignity and class. While his outgoing personality made him a favorite among his teammates, Orlando’s involvement in the community made him a favorite outside of Winter Park.
“Since 2007, Orlando fought this disease with tenacity and optimism. Throughout his difficult battle, he refused to allow ALS to define him, instead putting others’ needs in front of his and focusing on making those around him smile.
“Orlando will always remain a member of the Minnesota Vikings family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Demetra and their family.”
The folks at ESPN discuss Thomas: