Alabama Football Superfan Walt Gary Dies at Age 36

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 7, 2019

A field goal attempt hits the upright in the second half of an NCAA college football game between Vanderbilt and Missouri Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. Vanderbilt won 10-3. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Alabama football superfan Walt Gary died Thursday at the age of 36. 

According to ESPN.com's Alex Scarborough, Gary was a Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native with Down syndrome who would visit the Crimson Tide football team on Thursdays prior to games.

Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne tweeted the following about Gary upon his death:

Greg Byrne @Greg_Byrne

Sad to hear the news of Walt Gary’s passing. He was always so full of joy and loved the Crimson Tide. We will miss seeing him around the department. #RIPWalt https://t.co/TkmnJa62u5

Several current and former Alabama football players tweeted about Gary as well, including Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard and New England Patriots running back Damien Harris:

OJ Howard 80 ™ @TheRealOjHoward

Gonna miss Walt ! This was my guy since day one. I was always the best TE in America in his eyes. Love you brotha RIP🙏🏽 https://t.co/OnrI3TkJxz

Damien Harris @DHx34

Incredibly saddened by the news of the passing of our friend Walt Gary. Nobody loved the Alabama football team more than he did. His spirit will forever live on through the program! Seeing him before every game was nothing but motivation! Love and prayers to his entire family❤️ https://t.co/rSRETuL1nm

Per Scarborough, Alabama head coach Nick Saban told ESPN's College GameDay in 2018 that Gary projected the "spirit and tradition" of Alabama football.

Saban released a statement regarding Gary on Friday as well:

Alabama Football @AlabamaFTBL

Thursdays will never be the same. Rest In Peace, Walt. https://t.co/ipjxgkrnEn

Gary became close to the Alabama football program when Gene Stallings was the head coach from 1990-1996. According to Scarbrough, Stallings had a son with Down syndrome.

During Saban's regime, Gary became known for giving his score predictions in the days leading up to Alabama's games.