Geno Hayes dead at 33 – Ex-NFL linebacker passes away in hospice after liver disease fight

FORMER NFL Linebacker Geno Haynes has passed away after fighting liver disease.

The Ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneers star, who was just 33, spent his final days at his mother's home in Valdosta, South Georgia.

Following his passing, Florida State head football coach Mike Norvell said: "Thoughts and prayer for the family and friends of Geno Hayes.

"He lived his life as a tremendous Seminole who impacted so many throughout his journey on and off the field. His legacy will live on. #RIP #NoleFamily."

Haynes was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

He later signed with the Chicago Bears in 2012 where he played for one season, before moving to the Jacksonville Jaguars on a $2 million two-year contract in 2013.

He became a free agent after the 2014 season and later retired.

The father-of-two – whose children are aged 12 and eight – first revealed his two-year fight with liver disease to ESPN last month.

He told the outlet he'd been hospitalized more than 20 times in the past year and was waiting for a transplant.

"The first diagnosis they gave me was alcoholic cirrhosis," Hayes said. "But when we dug in deeper, it became just chronic liver disease, because I don't drink like that.

"If I did drink, it was just like wine or something like that. But my body is made different. And that's what [my doctor] said — 'Everybody's made different.'"

Hayes said he was diagnosed with the illness after his weight drastically dropped from 220 pounds to just 150.

The sports star said he believes his frequent use of over-the-counter pain medications during his six-year spell in the NFL ultimately led to his condition.

He also said that his family has a history of liver disease.

"At first I didn't let my kids come around when I was in the hospital," Hayes told the outlet. "Over time we eased into them knowing about me and now they know how to handle things…"

"I went into a depression for literally three months. … supreme depression," he continued. "I wanted more to know but didn't want to be a burden. … Being in my position, I was always so private that I closed myself off to people."

Hayes said he hoped his story would help others to learn to appreciate the simple things in life.

"I'm enjoying life, I'm spending more time with my kids and I really want to help people," he said.

"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."

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