News of the death of Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano sent shockwaves throughout the NFL, where Sparano had been a coach since 1999.
Sparano died Sunday, according to the team.
"Our hearts go out to Jeanette and the entire Sparano family as we all mourn the loss of Tony," Vikings Owners Mark and Zygi Wilf said in a statement. "Tony was a passionate and driven individual who cared deeply about his family, and especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. Tony's presence within the Vikings organization will be deeply missed. We are only thinking of Tony's family during this incredibly difficult time. We ask that the entire NFL and Vikings family keep the Sparanos in their thoughts."
Former and current players took to Twitter to pay respects to Sparano.
RIP Tony Sparano.. He was more than a football coach to me. I thank you for all the lessons advice and love you showed me ...Rest Easy.🙏🏾🙏🏾— Marcus Martin (@TheRealDoubleMs) July 22, 2018
My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Tony Sporano. Great man, gone too soon.— Zach Line (@ZLINE48) July 22, 2018
Man, when it rains it pours. Rest In Peace coach Sparano. Prayers going to your family and friends and our Viking organization. Lost 4 coaches in the past 2 months. Wishing I was able to reverse time and tell not just these people but everyone that’s import to me I appreciate you— Tashawn Bower (@TashawnBower) July 22, 2018
Sporano Family I am so sorry for your loss. Coach believed in me, trusted me, and stuck with me as a rookie. He would check on my family every HC and QB meeting we would have! He was a great man! I love you coach!— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) July 22, 2018
You will truly be missed by your loved ones, the guys you coached and the ones you’ve impacted over the years coach Sparano. Calm, cool and always wearing your shades no matter how dark the room was. Thank you for caring about the us as individuals and not just athletes 🙏🏾.— Teddy Bridgewater (@teddyb_h2o) July 22, 2018
And there's this from ESPN.com's Courtney Cronin and NFL analyst Warren Sharp:
My last interview at minicamp was with Tony Sparano. His gruff, no-nonsense exterior made him who he was, but behind that he was one of the nicest most gracious people I've had the privilege to interview. A real shock to the system. The NFL lost a good one.— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) July 22, 2018
RIP Tony Sparano, the only NFL head coach in NFL history to lead a team to the playoffs the year following a one-win season. His 2008 Dolphins won the AFC East, the only season in the last 15 years that the Patriots didn’t finish 1st place.— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) July 22, 2018
Sparano, 56, is survived by his wife, Jeanette, three children -- sons, Tony and Andrew, his daughter, Ryan Leigh -- and four grandchildren.