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Former Stanford two-sport star Zach Hoffpauir dies at 26

Former Stanford multi-sport start Zach Hoffpauir died on Thursday morning. He was 26.

Hoffpauir was with his father, Doug, in Arizona during the coronavirus pandemic. His father confirmed the death to the Arizona Republic but did not provide a cause.

The news hit Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey and his family hard. Hoffpauir and McCaffrey were teammates at Stanford.

McCaffrey, 23, on Friday posted a picture of Hoffpauir on Instagram with the message, "Yesterday, Heaven gained an angel, and I lost one of my best friends in the world."

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Yesterday Heaven gained an angel, and I lost one of my best friends in the world. Zach showed me the way when I got to college. He did things the right way. He taught me how to enjoy life. He taught me how to not give a fuck about what people think about me, and to do it my way. He never lost an argument, or a dance battle, and he said what he meant and meant what he said. I never doubted for a second whether or not he had my back. He was a true friend and a great brother to anyone he knew. He was a walking example of how to care for people, a rare soul. We always talked about living simply when we got older: Hunting, fishing, riding bulls, RVing across the country with @beaukitson (One day we'll do that). We talked about the little things in life and how to never take for granted a loved one. I'll cherish all the memories we had bro. I love you and your family and I promise we'll make you proud. Watch over us. Hug your loved ones extra today. 🙏🏼

A post shared by Christian McCaffrey (@christianmccaffrey) on

McCaffrey's father, former Denver Broncos wide receiver and current first-year Northern Colorado head coach Ed McCaffrey, also was shaken by Hoffpauir's death. He recently hired Hoffpauir as a defensive backs coach.

"I am devastated by the loss," Ed began his social media post.

At Stanford, Hoffpauir played safety in football and was a star baseball player.

He left school in 2015 after being selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 22nd round of the MLB draft. He hit .258 with 3 home runs in 62 at-bats in Class A ball that summer, then returned to Stanford to resume his football career in 2016.

Injuries ultimately forced him to retire from playing either sport.

"He was so excited to get back to Northern Colorado and try to influence lives beyond football," his father told the Arizona Republic. "He loved his head coach, Ed McCaffrey. Christian McCaffrey was his best friend. He had so much to look forward to."