The son of former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Babe Laufenberg passed away on Aug. 22, his family announced.
Luke Laufenberg, 21, a UTEP student and football player, died from cancer.
Babe Laufenberg had a long career in the NFL, ultimately playing for six different teams.
“Today we lost a son, a brother, a friend, and a warrior. Have never seen a person battle like Luke Laufenberg, but he lost his fight with cancer. He was truly inspirational. The hole in our hearts will never be filled. You are my hero. RIP my sweet Luke. See you on the other side,” he wrote in a statement, sharing two pictures of his son.
Today we lost a son, a brother, a friend, and a warrior. Have never seen a person battle like Luke Laufenberg, but he lost his fight with cancer. He was truly inspirational. The hole in our hearts will never be filled. You are my hero. RIP my sweet Luke. See you on the other side pic.twitter.com/HF1xfw19Xi
— Babe Laufenberg (@BabeLaufenberg) August 22, 2019
Luke Laufenberg was diagnosed with Burkitt, a rare form of leukemia in 2017. He was declared cancer-free in May 2018 but later suffered complications from Burkitt and the disease returned in April and labeled terminal in July.
According to the Lymphoma Research Foundation, Burkitt lymphoma is a rare but highly aggressive (fast-growing) B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
“This disease may affect the jaw, central nervous system, bowel, kidneys, ovaries, or other organs. Burkitt lymphoma may spread to the central nervous system,” the foundation stated.
“Translocation (a type of rearrangement) of a gene called MYC is a hallmark of Burkitt lymphoma, making this an important finding for diagnosis. In adults, Burkitt lymphoma is often indistinguishable from diffuse large B-cell lymphoma–another aggressive B-cell lymphoma,” it added.
Burkitt lymphoma originates in Africa and is about 50 times more common in Africa and New Guinea than in the United States.
UTEP coach Dana Dimel told WFAA in a statement: “Luke touched my heart and soul forever. His spirit and fight are a reminder to me of what it means to play and coach the game of football.”
Babe, I am so sorry for your loss. Luke was incredible and I was honored to interact with him here in El Paso. I’ll be keeping you and your family in my prayers.
— Kaylee Heck (@KayleeKFOX_CBS) August 22, 2019
Mr. & Mrs. Laufenberg, Family, Friends, Teammates, We are saddened of this update on Luke. Our thoughts and Prayers are with you all. What an AWESOME person Luke was to Everyone! A young man of God who was the Signal Caller of his Faith. God Bless them all with your peace. pic.twitter.com/woGMhWD63f
— Brandon Bethel (@CoachBethel) August 22, 2019
A number of people expressed their condolences to Babe Laufenberg and his family on Twitter.
“I’m so sorry, Babe. Luke was such an awesome dude. He’ll be greatly missed,” said ESPN reporter Tim MacMahon.
“Babe, so sorry for your loss. He was a lovely young man. Thoughts with your family,” added Cowboys reporter Mike Fisher.
“Babe, I am so sorry for your loss. Luke was incredible and I was honored to interact with him here in El Paso. I’ll be keeping you and your family in my prayers,” added Kaylee Heck of KFOX.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett became emotional at a press conference on Thursday.
“Luke was an amazing young man. You guys have heard me talk about ‘Fight’ a lot. I don’t know that I’ve ever a better example of that in my life,” he said. “What he’s gone through the last couple of years, the spirit that he had every day. To battle through it, to always be thoughtful about the people in his life—‘How’s my mom doing, how’s my dad doing, how’s my brother doing?’ Amazing.”