Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | Daniel Joseph DiCicco

Inspiring Pinellas sheriff's deputy Dan DiCicco dies at 29

“He was one who just never admitted he could not do something,” Daniel Joseph DiCicco’s mother said. Mr. DiCicco died Monday. He was 29 years old.

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

“He was one who just never admitted he could not do something,” Daniel Joseph DiCicco’s mother said. Mr. DiCicco died Monday. He was 29 years old.

ST. PETERSBURG — Entering his senior year of high school, Dan DiCicco was sure his dreams would come true. He would go to college on a football scholarship.

Letters from recruiters filled a box that originally held a ream of copy paper.

Then Mr. DiCicco, a lineman at Dixie Hollins High, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease.

He recovered, but months of treatment took a toll on his body. Surgery on his throat had damaged his vocal cords. He spoke in a hoarse whisper.

His plans diverted, Mr. DiCicco simply found another mountain to move. He became a Pinellas County sheriff's deputy. Then he made the SWAT team.

Mr. DiCicco died Sunday, two days after collapsing in a parking lot. He was 29.

"He was one who just never admitted he could not do something," said Cheryl DiCicco, a retired school principal and Mr. DiCicco's mother.

Daniel Joseph DiCicco was born in St. Petersburg and attended local schools. By the start of his senior year he was 6 feet tall, 285 pounds and captain of the football team.

But he found it increasingly hard to breathe. Doctors found a 10-inch cancerous tumor blocking his windpipe.

Mr. DiCicco underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation at All Children's Hospital. He lost 40 pounds in four weeks. Eight weeks after the surgery he played in a football game, then somehow finished out the season.

But he was not the same player, and the scholarship chances went away.

He graduated from the University of South Florida, then Manatee Tech Law Enforcement Academy.

"Some people said he would never be able to work where physical effort was required, that he couldn't be a cop because he couldn't yell," said Paul DiCicco, 32, his brother.

Through additional surgery, Mr. DiCicco regained some volume in his speaking voice. The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office still turned down his application to work with dogs. But Mr. DiCicco lived his chosen career as a Pinellas deputy. He raided drug houses, made the physically demanding SWAT team, and was last year assigned to a campaign stop by President Barack Obama.

"Being soft-spoken worked to his advantage," said Cheryl DiCicco, 61. "It de-escalates the situation when you're not yelling in someone's face."

After an eight-year relationship with a girlfriend ended, Mr. DiCicco roomed with Everett Vance, a friend since the sixth grade. The buddies were eating at a Wing House restaurant on Fourth Street N Friday when Mr. DiCicco complained of chest pains. He collapsed soon after and was taken to Northside Hospital. Had he lived, doctors told the family, he would have likely needed a heart transplant.

"We believe he knew he would not be himself again," his mother said, "and he made the choice not to fight this time."

Andrew Meacham can be reached at ameacham@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2248.

.Biography

Daniel Joseph DiCicco

Born: Oct. 25, 1983

Died: April 14, 2013

Survivors: mother, Cheryl DiCicco; father, Paul DiCicco; brother, Paul DiCicco; grandmother, Crystal Coester.

Service: 1 p.m. Monday; First Baptist Church, 1900 Gandy Blvd. N, St. Petersburg.

Inspiring Pinellas sheriff's deputy Dan DiCicco dies at 29 04/17/13 [Last modified: Thursday, April 18, 2013 8:10am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs' Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson kneel during national anthem

    Bucs

    Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson both kneeled during the national anthem in protest before Sunday's game at the Vikings, two days after President Donald Trump made critical remarks about NFL …

    Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson both kneeled during the national anthem in protest before Sunday's game at the Vikings. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Man dead, 4-year-old girl critically injured in Clearwater Beach boating crash

    Briefs

    A man was killed and a 4-year-old girl is in critical condition late Saturday after their personal watercraft collided with a boat in the Intracoastal Waterway near Clearwater Beach just before 5 p.m.

  3. 'If anyone can hear us … help.' Puerto Rico's mayors describe 'horror in the streets'

    World

    SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - In the northern Puerto Rican town of Vega Baja, the floodwaters reached more than 10 feet. Stranded residents screamed "save me, save me," using the lights in their cellphones to help rescue teams find them in the darkness, the town's mayor said.

  4. My AP Top 25 ballot: FSU out, USF, Florida Gators back in

    Blogs

    Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher still thinks he can have a good team, as I wrote in today's Tampa Bay Times. Maybe he's right.

  5. Forecast: Scattered thunderstorms in Tampa Bay; Maria could affect Carolinas

    Weather

    Scattered thunderstorms will threaten the Tampa Bay area Sunday, but most of the area will see sunshine.

    Scattered thunderstorms threaten Tampa Bay on Sunday. [Courtesy 10News WTSP]