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Former Gator safety John Curtis suffers tragic death in Washington



The King County Medical Examiner's Office in Seattle has confirmed to the Times that former Florida safety John Curtis, IV died Thursday morning in Bellevue, Wash.

Curtis, 24, was a native of Cocoa Beach.

The Medical Examiner's Office said Curtis died of multiple injuries including a laceration of the lungs, heart, kidney and liver and blunt force injury of the head and torso caused by suicide.

"Its tragic when a young life is lost,'' Florida coach Urban Meyer said. "I'm not sure how you describe the loss of life in words. John was a great young man who was a proud member of our Gator family. We grieve for him, his friends and his family and pray for their comfort."

According to police reports, Curtis leaped to his death at Lincoln Square Center in Bellevue after multiple police officers arrived around 8 a.m. following reports of a male sitting on the railing at a downtown restaurant. After officers had brief contact with Curtis, he jumped from the fourth floor of the railing of Lincoln Square, the police report states.

Bellevue Police Department Officer Carla Iafrate said the case remains an active police investigation and no further details can be released at this time.

Curtis came to UF in 2004, and did not play that season. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in August of 2005, then returned in 2006 and played in six games, mostly on special teams. He played in 11 games in 2007, but suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in 2008 and missed the entire season.

Florida co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chuck Heater said Friday the injuries were tough for Curtis to handle.

"I just heard about it,'' Heater said. "What do you say? He was a real likable guy here, a lot of players really liked him a lot. He had, unfortunately, a lot of knee injuries here. He probably could have had a chance to play some football here, more than he did. He played but I'm sure not as much as he would like to. It's sad and unfortunate.  He was a good guy, well-liked team member. Players really liked him. He was a friendly guy with the team, and just dealing with the frustrations of the injuries, which were always hard for him to deal with and accept those things, just the disappointments of all of that. But he was a respected member of our team, that's for sure.''

[Last modified: Friday, August 6, 2010 6:37pm]


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