College Football Star Dead at 25 After Team's Season Opener

Francis Perron, a football player from the University of Ottawa, died after the team's season opener on Sunday, the team announced. He was 25 years old. Jacques Fremont, University of Ottawa president, shared the news on Sunday. The cause of death was not announced. 

"Over the weekend, Francis Perron, one of our Mechanical Engineering students and a defensive lineman in his fifth season with Gee-Gees football, died shortly after a game between uOttawa and the University of Toronto," Fremont said. "A bright, passionate, and caring person, Francis poured himself into his craft as a player and his academic pursuit of becoming an engineer. In the classroom, he was as big of a star as on the field, becoming a multiple-time U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian while studying Mechanical Engineering."

Perron joined the Gee-Gees in 2017. He played in the season opener, and the team lost 11-10. "Francis' memory will live on through a vast network of loving family, friends, and all those whose lives he touched," Fremont continued. "On behalf of the University of Ottawa, I offer my condolences to his family, friends and loved ones. The thoughts of all members of our community are with you. I would also like to thank our colleagues at the University of Toronto for their steadfast support during this tragic event."

Candian Football League wide receiver Nate Behar took to Twitter to send his condolences to Perron's family and friends. "A university football team is an unbelievably tight knit group of young men. Often you show up on campus with no idea of what the 'real world' entails," Behar wrote. "You grow up with those guys around you, you leave as men after 4+ years of lessons. To lose one, I can't imagine the pain. I hope that every person connected and affected, in the young man's family, and in the University of Ottawa community, can find a way to heal in time. Devastating."

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Perron played defensive line and was an Academic All-Canadian. He had a standout career at Cégep de Sherbrooke, a pre-university college in Quebec. "This is a terrible tragedy that has the entire OUA community mourning," said Gord Grace, OUA President & CEO. "Our thoughts and condolences go out to Francis' family and friends, the Ottawa Gee-Gees, and the entire university community during this incredibly difficult time."