Max Tuerk, a former standout for the University of Southern California, has died at the age of 26. The program announced the news on Sunday. USC did not disclose Tuerk's cause of death in the statement.
"#FightOnForever, Max Tuerk. The #TrojanFamily is terribly saddened by the news of Tuerk’s passing, gone too soon at the age of 26, and our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with his family," the USC account tweeted on Sunday. Several coaches and players offered their condolences and reminisced about Tuerk's time in Los Angeles. Head coach Clay Helton said that the former center was an incredible person, teammate and Trojan.
My thoughts and prayers are with the Tuerk family through these trying times. Max was an unbelievable player, leader and teammate. He embodied what it is to be a Trojan! I was honored to coach and be around such an amazing spirit! Rest In Peace Max Tuerk 🕊🙏🏼✌🏻 #FightOnForever pic.twitter.com/kcSpAdqrFb— Tim Drevno (@CoachDrev) June 21, 2020
A four-star recruit out of Santa Margarita High School, Tuerk started at left tackle during his freshman season at USC. He switched to guard during his junior season, earning All Pac-12 first-team honors in the process. As a senior, Tuerk changed positions once again and moved to center. He excelled once again and worked his way to becoming a second-round pick during the 2016 NFL Draft.
Tuerk spent 2016 and part of the 2017 season with the Chargers, primarily on the team's practice squad. He also missed four games due to a suspension for performance-enhancing substances. The Arizona Cardinals signed him off the practice squad on Nov. 6, 2017. He appeared in one game against the New York Giants after Daniel Munyer landed on Injured Reserve with a toe injury. The team later released Tuerk on April 12, 2018.
"In life, we're lucky to come across people that leave impressions on you as you go through your journey," former USC linebacker Scott Felix wrote on Twitter. "Fortunately, I've had the pleasure of working alongside some great men that have taught me lessons without even trying to. Max Tuerk was one of those men.
"He was a guy that everyone loved and rightfully so," Felix continued. "Tuerk was a great teammate and an even better friend. Here's to going to battle together. Here's to your hilarious laugh that made everyone else laugh. Here's to growing up next to each other. Here's to the good times. Rest In Peace brother."