ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- Former Buccaneer and NFL Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon has died after suffering from a stroke earlier this week.
In a statement, the Selmon family says Lee Roy passed away at St. Joseph's Hospital surrounded by family and friends.
"For all his accomplishments on and off the field, to us Lee Roy was the rock of our family. This has been a sudden and shocking event and we are devastated by this unexpected loss. We deeply appreciate the prayers and support shown by family, friends, the football community and the public over the past two days," the family said.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says that the former Buc had the competitive heart of a lion, but off the field he was as gentle as a lamb. Every young person who aspires to emulate an athlete, he says, should look to the life of Lee Roy Selmon as an example of how to do it right.
"On the field, he embodied everything that is right about athletics and off the field, carried himself with a dignity and a grace that reflected his faith and his family. He was my friend and I will miss him, but Tampa will miss him more," Buckhorn said.
The Glazers have also released a statement about Selmon's passing:
"Tampa Bay has lost another giant. This is an incredibly somber day for Buccaneer fans, Sooner fans, and all football fans. Lee Roy's standing as the first Buc in the Hall of Fame surely distinguished him, but his stature off the field as the consummate gentleman put him in another stratosphere. Put simply, he was first class. He was the real deal. We are so blessed to have known this fine man and to have called him one of our own, yet so sad to have lost him so soon. Our hearts go out to the Selmon family at this time of their loss."
The Selmon family asks that anyone who wishes to honor Lee Roy make donations to Abe Brown Ministries or the University of South Florida Foundation Partnership for Athletics.
Abe Brown Ministries
2921 North 29th Street
Tampa, FL 33605
USF Partnership for Athletics
4202 E Fowler Avenue
Tampa, FL 33620