The University of Ottawa says one of its football players died shortly after the team’s season opener in Toronto on Saturday.
Francis Perron of Sherbrooke, Que., started playing for the Gee-Gees in 2017. A statement from university president Jacques Frémont did not mention a cause of death.
Perron, a 25-year-old mechanical engineering student, had been named an academic all-Canadian in 2018 and 2019.
“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,” Frémont wrote.
“Our hearts are broken,” head coach Marcel Bellefeuille wrote in a tweet. “We’ve lost an outstanding person, teammate, player and veteran leader that made us better in every way possible,”
It is with extremely heavy hearts that we share the news that we have lost one of our own. Gee-Gees football player Francis Perron passed away yesterday. <br><br>Our hearts and deepest condolences go out to everyone whose life he has touched. <a href=”https://t.co/OtAgUEdFGJ”>https://t.co/OtAgUEdFGJ</a> <a href=”https://t.co/R2Ra4CMY7A”>pic.twitter.com/R2Ra4CMY7A</a>
Bellefeuille said he’s thinking of the school’s sports and engineering community, and said support will be available for anyone feeling overwhelmed.
A memorial will be held in the coming weeks, the school’s president said. The team’s next game is scheduled for this Saturday at Queen’s.