Former NFL and Florida State linebacker Geno Hayes died on Monday night after a battle with liver disease, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
He was 33.
His high school coach, Frankie Carroll, told the Tallahassee Democrat about Hayes’ death on Monday. Hayes had been in hospice care at his mother’s home in Valdosta, Georgia.
“It's one of those things where you have to make sure you tell them you love them,” Carroll said, via the Democrat.
Hayes was diagnosed with chronic liver disease in 2019. He told ESPN in March that he was put on a waiting list for a liver transplant before he entered the hospital last month. Hayes struggled with depression after his diagnosis, and lost nearly 70 pounds while landing in the hospital 20 times over the past year.
Hayes believed that years of taking nonprescription medications and a family history of liver disease is what led to his diagnosis. Still, though, Hayes wanted his story to be a lesson for people.
“I'm enjoying life, I'm spending more time with my kids and I really want to help people," Hayes said in March, via ESPN. "My main goal is to just inspire, to inspire the next person, no matter what they're going through, no matter who talks bad about them — family, friends, social media, all of that crap — it don't matter. You take care of you. Make sure you're straight. That's all I want to do."
Hayes played seven seasons in the league, first with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after they selected him in the sixth round of the 2008 draft. He spent one year in Chicago and then two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars before he retired in 2014. He recorded six interceptions and 401 total tackles in his 101 games.
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