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Ty Jordan, football player who went viral for touching on-field moment, dies at 19

The University of Utah running back was named the Pac-12 offensive newcomer of the year just days ago.
/ Source: TODAY

University of Utah running back Ty Jordan, who was named the Pac-12 offensive newcomer of the year just days ago, died after accidentally shooting himself, according to authorities in his home state of Texas. He was 19.

Jordan's death was first announced on Saturday by the University of Utah football team, but did not include details about the circumstances.

University of Utah running back Ty Jordan (22) runs for a score as he eludes a tackle by Washington State linebacker Jahad Woods (13) on Dec. 19, 2020.Rick Bowmer / AP

“Words cannot express the devastation and heartache that our team is feeling right now upon learning of the tragic death of our teammate and brother, Ty Jordan,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said in a statement.

Officers from the Denton Police Department responded to a call on Christmas regarding a man who accidentally shot himself in the hip, Denton police spokeswoman Allison Beckwith told The Associated Press Saturday.

Beckwith declined to name the victim, however online records from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office confirm it was Jordan.

Jordan was a key part of the University of Utah's offense and closed out the season with with 597 yards rushing, 11 catches for 126 yards and six touchdowns.

The college freshman was a prominent recruit, but he had his first big moment in the spotlight last year as a high school player when an image of Jordan and Sherman High School player Gage Smith kneeling together and praying on the field went viral.

The moving moment between Jordan and Smith helped raise the spirits of Jordan's mother, Tiffany, who had stage 4 lung and bone cancer. Sherman High School

While the two friends played for different teams, they united to pray for a miracle for Jordan's mother, Tiffany Jordan, who had stage 4 lung and bone cancer.

"It was meant for just me and him to have a moment and to pray over his family and for his mom,'' Smith told TODAY last year. "I just wanted to let him know there are other people thinking about him and his family, and let him know he has somebody to turn to."

Jordan shared the heartbreaking news on August 14 that his mother had died. In a November 2019 interview with TODAY, Tiffany Jordan reflected on the special moment her son and his friend shared on the field.

"I was speechless,'' she said. "It made me cry. (Smith) didn't have to do that. The fact that he took the time to pray with Ty for me, that took my breath away."

"It made me feel really good,'' she added. "I've been down and depressed, but that has lifted my spirits.

"A prayer, a kind word, a hug, especially when you know somebody is going through something, that's like the best thing you can do for a person."