C.J. Fuller's Aunt Says He Had Chest Pains Before Death: 'Before We Knew It, He Was Gone'
The former Clemson University football player died on Wednesday at 22
The former running back was participating in physical therapy to treat a knee injury when he started to experience discomfort in his chest, Fuller’s aunt, Zola Fuller Beeks, told reporters.
“He had been having some chest pains before that day, but they got worse fast,” Beeks said, according to WLTX News. “He was conscious at one point, but when he got to the hospital, his speech was slurred. Before we knew it, he was gone.”
As of now, the family believes Fuller may have had a blood clot.
“We think it had something to do with a blood clot,” Beeks explained, “but you just don’t expect someone his age to be gone so fast.”
His official cause of death has yet to be determined, as the Pickens County Coroner Kandy Kelley in South Carolina told The State newspaper that autopsy results would take six to eight weeks.
The news of Fuller’s death sent shockwaves throughout the college football community, and Clemson Football Head Coach Dabo Swinney released a statement on behalf of the “heartbroken” football program.
“I’m proud of what he accomplished as a Clemson Tiger, most of all, his accomplishment of being a Clemson graduate,” Swinney wrote. “Our deepest condolences and the thoughts of our program are with his family this evening. May he rest in peace.”
Fuller’s aunt also echoed the praise of her nephew’s on-field accomplishments.
“His dream was Clemson,” Beeks told Greenville News and Independent Mail on Thursday. “He made us champions. From the time he was 5 until he was 22, he loved football. It was a part of him. And to us, he will always be a champion.”
According to WLTX, Fuller played at the university between 2014 and 2017, and accumulated 599 yards rushing on 147 carries with five touchdowns in three seasons. But his most memorable moment came when he had a 20-yard kickoff return against the University of Alabama that started a game-winning drive in the 2016 national championship game.
Despite his bond to Clemson, Fuller announced he was going to play for a new university next season as a graduate transfer. But a month after he broke the news, Fuller and two other college football players were arrested and charged with armed robbery, reports Clemson Sports Talk.
The case had not yet been taken to trial, reports the Independent News. Beeks hopes her nephew won’t be remembered for the crime he was charged with.
“C.J. had a lot of good to give the world,” she said. “Now, he won’t have the chance.”