MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A University of Minnesota football player was found dead in a dorm room Friday morning, according to U officials.

The body of 22-year-old linebacker Gary Tinsley was found in Roy Wilkins Hall, a dorm which houses many student athletes.

Emergency responders tried to revive Tinsley, but were unsuccessful.

They say there are no signs of foul play, and the campus is not in any danger. The body was removed from the residence hall just before 11:30 a.m.

A source told WCCO that linebacker Gary Tinsley was on campus Thursday working out.

Tinsley, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., has been with the U football team since 2008. He has played in 44 games, and was second in total tackles during the team’s 2011 season with 87. He was set to graduate in May and had completed his eligibility with the Gophers football program, playing mostly at middle linebacker.

Coach Jerry Kill only had one year to get to know the linebacker, but Tinsley made an impression immediately.

“Gary is a young man that’s done everything I asked him to do since I walked in this door,” said Kill.

Quarterback MarQuies Gray can’t help but grieve the great player who spent the last four years on the field with him, but it’s the friendship he’s lost that hurts the most.

“Last night texting each other and today he’s gone. That’s God’s work,” said Gray.

Eric Kaler, the university’s president, said the school’s thoughts and prayers are with Tinsley’s family and friends.

“It is always difficult to lose a member of the University family,” Kaler said. “In addition, [Tinsley] was an important part of Gopher Athletics who was engaged in public service.”

On Friday night, students held a vigil for Tinsley. On the grass outside Wilkins Hall, they crowded together with candles in their hands and consoled one another as much as possible.

Some of Tinsley’s teammates took the lead in telling stories about him.

“We both was supposed to graduate May 10th. We were so happy about that man and it’s only a month away. It’s so hard, like I’m not here to I try to tell you not to be sad, but it’s hard, it’s real hard, like, being a player and knowing him,” said athlete Troy Stoudermire

Just like crowd, Tinsley’s father in Florida wants to know how the star athlete died.

Police say there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol found in Tinsley’s room.

Comments (16)
  1. Katie says:

    We saw this happening as we drove past on University this morning. Very sad.

  2. Liquid Nails says:

    There’s bad news and sad news.
    This is both.

  3. Taylor says:

    What was his name? I will light a candle for him on Memory Book.com

  4. jackactionhero says:

    rumors have it that he’s a football player

    1. Bob says:

      you’re a genius Jack!!!!

  5. Very Sad Too young says:

    Very Very sad news, RIP Gary!

  6. Norm says:

    Shame on you clowns leaving jokes on here. Gary Tinsley was a fine young man. Rest in peace son.

  7. rob says:

    I walked past there this morning around 10:30. I started praying immediately but man what a tragedy.

  8. Richard in Minneapolis says:

    This comment is not a joke about Mr. Tinsley, and I regret it being interpreted as such. It is more to raise the question of whether a ‘win at all costs’ sports mentatility that rewards players for inflicting injuries that could easily be permanently debiliting would shirk at inflicting injuries that might eventually be fatal.

    1. gardoglee says:

      While that is a possibility, it is also true that even in a group of healthy 22 year olds some possibility exists for death by natural causes . Until there is more information we can best concentrate on expressing our condolences.

      1. Forrest Gump says:

        I agree.

  9. Darren says:

    Wow, thats sad. That we have to go all the way to Florida to find a decent football player.

    Hope it was from natural causes and not what so many other young people are doing. R.I.P

  10. chester says:

    R.I.P GARY TINSLEY you will be missed by all GOPHER teammates, friends and fans you were a very nice young man and all around nice guy

  11. Forrest Gump says:

    I am sorry to here this . No one should have to die this young.

  12. Deep Thinker says:

    What I admire is the fact that he was sticking around for graduation. So many college football players leave school after their last game (that’s just speculation on my part, not a known fact) He was really talented & I thought that he might do something at the next level as an undrafted free agent. Of course that’s not what is important, what is important is that such a young man has passed away.

  13. R.I.P says:


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