"How am I going to tell my babies?"
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson has died at the age of 26, and both his family and the NFL community are mourning the shocking news.
"We are profoundly saddened by the tragic passing of Jaylon Ferguson," the Ravens tweeted early Wednesday, shortly after the news broke. "He was a kind, respectful young man with a big smile and infectious personality.
Ferguson's agent, Safarrah Lawson, also confirmed the news in a statement.
"The family asks for your prayers and privacy during this trying time," she said in the statement obtained by Fox News.
\u201cWe are heartbroken to hear of the tragic loss of Jaylon Ferguson. The NFL family sends our deepest condolences to his loved ones.\u201d— NFL (@NFL) 1655904108
Ferguson's girlfriend, Doni Smith, shared a few candid and heartbreaking messages on Twitter early Wednesday.
"How am I going to tell my babies," she wrote, in a simple three-tweet series of messages. "This is not real," she added, before writing: "Jay I just need to hold you baby."
She posted a Father's Day tribute to Ferguson a few days ago, which included several photos of him with their young kids.
\u201c\ud83e\udef6\ud83c\udffd\ud83d\udc10\ud83d\udc99.\nWe celebrate you today. \nLove you, and you are definitely appreciated. \ud83d\ude18\u201d— . (@.) 1655663412
No cause of death had been revealed as of Wednesday morning.
The Ravens drafted Ferguson out of Louisiana Tech in 2019, and he would go on to play in the NFL for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
Louisiana Tech mourned his death in a statement of its own on Wednesday.
"We will remember his God-given talents on the field and his infectious personality off of it," the school's football program said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."
Ferguson had been getting ready for the 2022 season with the rest of the Ravens, although he was held out of practice due to an ankle injury last week.