First a football star at the University of Hawaii, Vince Manuwai was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2003
Vince Manuwai, a former NFL player celebrated for his offensive lineman skills, was reportedly found dead on Sunday. He was 38.
Manuwai, a father of six, collapsed as he moved into an apartment in the Kakaako district of Honolulu, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. He was pronounced dead at Straub Medical Center, Hawaii News Now reported.
Manuwai was a football star at the University of Hawaii and was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2003. After eight seasons in Jacksonville, he was a member of the practice squad for the Atlanta Falcons in 2012.
“We are saddened by the news of Vince Manuwai’s passing,” the Jaguars said in a statement to PEOPLE. “Vince was a quiet, strong, reliable and respected member of the Jaguars family for eight seasons.”
“Throughout his career he was a key part of our offensive line, and the way he went about doing his job was a great example for his teammates and others. We offer our condolences, our thoughts and our thanks for the Manuwai family in remembrance of Vince,” the statement continued.
“One of my favorite teammates I’ve ever had the pleasure of going to battle with. Big Vince never complained and he was always down for the s—s,” football player Fred Taylor wrote on Instagram. “He’d always say ‘whatever you wanna do bruddah, I got you’ and he always rushed to snatch guys off the pile and pick me up. I love you bruddah, RIP big fella.”
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“He had the biggest heart. He was always giving, caring and making sure everyone else was okay before himself, and that was kind of his style,” teammate John Estes told Hawaii News Now.
“He was one of the best — if not the best — offensive linemen to play at UH,” Rich Miano, a former University of Hawaii assistant coach, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “It’s a sad day for everyone affiliated with Hawaii football who knew Vince Manuwai.”
“Vince was one of those rare individuals where his strength on the field probably was even greater than in the weight room. He was just a powerful man,” another of Manuwai’s college coaches, Dennis McKnight, said to the newspaper.