Julius Campbell died on Friday of organ failure at 65 years old
Former high school football star Julius Campbell, who was portrayed by Wood Harris in Remember the Titans, has died.
Campbell died on Friday of organ failure, the Washington Post reported. He was 65.
Campbell was a student-athlete at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, VA. The football team, the Titans, went on to become the first integrated team in the area after Alexandria merged its three public high schools into one in 1971.
That same year, the Titans went undefeated and won the Virginia AAA state championship.
Campbell, the team’s captain, graduated in 1973.
The integration of T.C. Williams was initially met with opposition and the film was inspired by the city’s racial tension.
Remember the Titans follows Campbell as he adjusts to the new school and teammates. Campbell and white linebacker Gerry Bertier first butt heads before bonding over the Titans’ success.
The film also centers around the team’s Coach Herman Boone, played by Denzel Washington, and his relationship with white Coach Bill Yoast after high school officials chose him to be the head coach instead of Yoast.
“Julius was very, very instrumental on that team at simply getting kids to just talk to one another, kids who never talked to kids from another race their entire lives,” Boone told the Post.
“By doing so, they learned many things about each other that were not passed down to them and for that, the world owes Julius a debt of gratitude,” Boone explained.
Campbell’s wife of 29 years, who according to the Washington Post confirmed the news, also spoke out on his death.
“He was a very kind, compassionate human being,” Cathy Campbell told the Post. “If you met him, you loved him.”
In addition to his wife, Campbell is survived by his daughter, three stepdaughters, two stepsons and five grandchildren, the Washington Post reported.
Following his years at T.C. Williams, Campbell had dreams of playing at Ohio State but went to Ferrum Junior College in hopes of transferring.
However, he suffered an ankle injury that ended his football career.
He then returned home to tend to his father and later began working for the Alexandria and Prince George’s County animal control departments.
Although he never stepped foot on the field again, he used his story to inspire and educate others on race relations and bullying in high school, the Washington Post reported.