Some sad news hit the Notre Dame football family Easter Sunday as reports filtered out that they had lost one of their own.
According to multiple media outlets, former Irish quarterback Blair Kiel passed away yesterday afternoon. Kiel was presumably celebrating the holiday at a relative’s house in Columbus (Ind.) when he fell ill. After being taken to a local hospital via ambulance, Kiel was pronounced dead at 12:21 p.m. local time.
He was 50 years old at the time of his death.
While toxicology reports will take upwards of six weeks to complete, an autopsy has already determined that Kiel died of natural causes, Bartholomew (Ind.) County coroner Allen Smith told the Chicago Tribune. Smith added that he’s “100-percent sure” Kiel died of natural causes, although he could not confirm it was a heart attack that claimed Kiel’s life as has been rumored.
Kiel became Notre Dame’s first four-year starter at QB since the early part of the 20th century during his playing career, which encompassed the period between 1980-1983. He remains ranked 10th in career passing yards (3,650) and eight in completions (297) at the school. Following his time in South Bend, Kiel went on to play parts of eight seasons in the NFL, as well as brief stints in the Canadian Football League and Arena Football League.
Kiel’s nephew, Gunner Kiel, was rated as the No. 1 QB in the Class of 2012 who graduated early from high school in order to sign with the Irish and participate in spring practice this year.