Max Tuerk, a former offensive lineman for the University of Southern California football team, died at age 26 Saturday, according to a statement from his family.
Tuerk died while hiking on a favorite trail in the Cleveland National Forest with his parents, the statement said.
No cause of death was given.
“Max loved his teammates, coaches, and schools,” the family said in a statement tweeted by USC Athletics Sunday. “Max was a loving son and older brother and his passing leaves a giant hole in our hearts. His strength and work ethic is an inspiration to many.”
Tuerk played with USC from 2012-2015 before being drafted in the third round by the then-San Diego Chargers in 2016. He was also a member of the Arizona Cardinals but was released in 2018.
Condolences for the loss of Tuerk rang out on social media Sunday from those that worked with him.
“#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,” University of Southern California Football said on Twitter.
USC head coach Clay Helton said on Twitter that he was “heartbroken by the loss of Max Tuerk. Incredible person, teammate, and Trojan. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
Lane Kiffin, Tuerk’s first head coach at USC, tweeted, “This is awful. So sad. Praying for family and friends. I always loved Max and one of my favorites. #FightOnForever, Max!!!!”