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How did USC legend and Heisman Trophy winner Charles White die?

From his incredible toughness, to his endearing smile, the USC legend and Hall of Famer will be remembered fondly by fans, coaches and teammates alike.

Legendary USC Trojans player, Heisman Trophy winner and College Football Hall of Famer Charles White has died at the age of 64.

The collegiate football fraternity is in a state of morning, after reports confirmed the death of one its true legends, the iconic running back, Charles White.

Former USC great Charles White passes away

According to a press release from his alma mater USC, College Football Hall of Famer and former Heisman Trophy winner Charles White passed away on Wednesday. He was 64 years old. Regarded as one of the greatest college football players in history, White still owns the USC all-time rushing record with 6,245 yards. A two-time unanimous All-American, the legendary running back set 22 NCAA, Pac-10, USC and Rose Bowl records during his college career. Yet, perhaps the culmination of it all came when he helped the Trojans to win the 1978 National Championship, before being awarded the Walter Camp Award, Maxwell Award and Heisman Trophy the following year in 1979. Though no official cause of death has been given, it was reported last July that White was suffering with dementia.

“He was the toughest player I’ve ever coached,” John Robinson, White’s former USC and Rams head coach said in a press release from USC. “He was really unusual in that regard. He was a great player and just loved playing the game. Those are the things I remember the most. He was a really tough guy, and he was an extremely gifted athlete. But the!” Indeed, that sentiment was also echoed by USC athletic director Mike Bohn. “Charles White was one of the all-time great Trojans,” USC athletic director Mike Bohn said in the press release. “A Rose Bowl legend, a two-time unanimous All-American and a NCAA record-setter, he made USC proud donning the Cardinal and Gold. He will always be remembered by the Trojan Family for the history he made on the football field and the legacy he left at Troy. Fight On Forever!”

What about Charles White’s time in the NFL?

Selected by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 1980 NFL Draft, White would go on to spend four seasons with the Browns before moving to the Los Angeles Rams. There, he would excel, leading the league in rushing in the 1987 season, when he was named the league’s Comeback Player of the Year. Indeed, White was well known for his tough approach to the game, something that former teammate and fellow USC legend Marcus Allen spoke of openly. “Guys four or five times his size would murder Charlie,” Allen said in an interview. “He’d get up, smile and laugh at you, and say, “I’ll be right back. We’re talking about a horse. He was a stud.”

What did Charles White do after he stopped playing football?

When the curtain finally came down on his career, it appears White had clearly not had his full of the physicality of a contact sport. With that, he actually went on to compete in American Gladiators and believe it or not, he won all three of his appearances. From there, however, the call of the gridiron couldn’t be resisted and in 1990, he joined the USC staff as a special assistant to the athletic director. He would later move to an on-field role where he took over as the team’s running backs coach from 1993-1997, before finally moving to an administrative position. Charles White is survived by his ex-wife Judianne White-Basch, their children Nicole White, Julian White, Tara White, Ashton White, Sophia White, and granddaughter Giovanna Hemmen.


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