Orlando Thomas, Former Minnesota Vikings Safety, Dies From ALS
After more than a decade-long battle, Orlando Thomas died Sunday night at the age of 42 from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Thomas played his entire seven-year NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings (#42) before leaving the league in 2001.
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On Monday, the Vikings released a statement via their website:
The Vikings are deeply saddened by the loss of Orlando Thomas. Orlando was an outstanding player for the Vikings for seven years, but more importantly, he represented the franchise and the state of Minnesota with the utmost dignity and class. While his outgoing personality made him a favorite among his teammates, Orlando’s involvement in the community made him a favorite outside of Winter Park.
Since 2007, Orlando fought this disease with tenacity and optimism. Throughout his difficult battle, he refused to allow ALS to define him, instead putting others’ needs in front of his and focusing on making those around him smile.
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