Jack Pardee, a Texas A&M football star who went on to become both an All-Pro linebacker and an NFL coach, died Monday at the age of 76.
In November, Pardee's family announced that he had gall bladder cancer that had spread to other organs and that he had six to nine months to live.
The family has established a memorial scholarship fund in Pardee's name at the University of Houston, where Pardee coached from 1987-89.
Houston athletic director Mack Rhoades said:
"Today, we mourn the passing of a great man who dedicated his life to the game of football and was a true gentleman in every sense of the word."
"It was not a coincidence that success followed coach and his teams wherever he worked, and the University of Houston program was blessed to have him."
Pardee was born in Iowa and moved to west-central Texas as a teenager, where he played six-man football at Christoval High School before moving on to Texas A&M.
Bear Bryant became the Aggies' coach in 1954 and moved their preseason camp to desolate Junction, about 100 miles northwest of San Antonio.
The state endured a severe drought and an historic heat wave, but Bryant worked his team through the brutal conditions and refused to allow water breaks.
Pardee was one of 35 players who made it through training camp.
"Not only did we lose a Texas A&M legend today, we lost a man who was a legend at every level of football," Texas A&M A.D. Eric Hyman said.
Pardee played three seasons at Texas A&M and was the 14th overall pick in the 1957 NFL draft by Los Angeles. He played for the Rams from 1957-64.
After sitting out a year to deal with melanoma, he played seven more seasons. He finished his playing career with the Washington Redskins in 1973.