CHICAGO (CBS) — Former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson was found dead Thursday night in his Miami home.
The Miami Dade County coroner has confirmed Duerson’s death but did not cite a cause.
Duerson, an All-American at Notre Dame, was an integral part of the 1985-86 Super Bowl Champion Bears. He would later win another Super Bowl with the New York Giants in 1990. He retired from the NFL after an 11-year career in 1993.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Bears Analyst Tom Thayer’s Reaction
Newsradio 780 Bears analyst Tom Thayer, who was Duerson’s roommate at Notre Dame, said he was in “total shock.”
“He was always just a great guy,” Thayer said. “I watched him … turn into a great NFL player, a great father and great husband and everything you wanted to see a man turn into.
“Dave had a lot of life in front of him.”
The Bears issued a statement on Friday morning: “We are stunned and saddened to hear the tragic news regarding Dave Duerson. He was a great contributor to our team and the Chicago community. Today is a difficult day for all of us who loved Dave. We’ll miss him. Our prayers are with his family.”
Duerson, 50, was drafted by the Bears in 1983 after a stellar career at Notre Dame. He was a multi-sport star at Muncie Northside High School in Muncie, Ind.
After his playing career, Duerson spent time working for 670-AM The Score and owned and operated Brooks Sausage Company, later known as Fair Oaks Farms. He was also on the Notre Dame board of trustees, but resigned that position after a domestic altercation with his wife, Alicia, in South Bend. They later divorced.
CBS 2’s Ryan Baker talked with fellow former Bears star Richard Dent, whom Baker described as “completely stunned.”
Dent said Duerson had recently moved away from Chicago to Florida, after his business began to fall on hard times.
But for a long time, Duerson had been a successful businessman who took his business from a value of $43 million to $63 million. He was also a member of the National Honor Society.
Dent said the last time he saw Duerson was this past fall, when the 1985 Bears team returned to Chicago for a 25th anniversary of the Super Bowl season at the Arie Crown Theatre.
Duerson appeared in 102 games with 76 starts with the Bears, recording 566 tackles, 18 interceptions, 15 sacks, seven forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 46 pass breakups, according to the Bears website.
In 1987, Duerson was selected the winner of the prestigious NFL Man of the Year Award, the only league honor that recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.
Duerson is survived by his four children.
“Our family asks that you please remember Dave as a good, kind, and caring man,” Alicia Duerson, Dave’s ex-wife told NBCChicago. “He loved and cherished his family and friends and was extremely proud of his beloved Notre Dame and Chicago Bears. Please keep Dave and our family in your prayers.”