Former pro football player Ryan Mallett died in an apparent drowning in Florida on Tuesday, officials said.
Mallett, 35, was pronounced dead at a hospital after he was pulled unconscious from the water in Destin, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said.
Sheriff’s spokesperson Michele Nicholson said the drowning victim is Mallett.
The Arkansas school district where he worked as a head football coach confirmed his death in a statement Tuesday, and the NFL and Mallett’s former teams shared condolences.
“It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Coach Ryan Mallett,” the White Hall School District said. “Coach Mallett was a beloved coach and educator.”
The NFL said in a statement on Twitter: “The NFL family is deeply saddened by the passing of Ryan Mallett. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”
Mallett was a former quarterback for the Arkansas Razorbacks who was drafted by the New England Patriots. He also played for the Baltimore Ravens and the Houston Texans.
Last year, Mallett became head coach of his high school football team, the White Hall Bulldogs, NBC affiliate KARK of Little Rock reported.
“We are saddened to learn of Ryan Mallett’s passing,” the Ravens tweeted Tuesday. “Ryan was a tremendous person and a loyal teammate.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a statement on Twitter that he was “extremely saddened by Ryan’s tragic passing.”
The sheriff’s office said Mallett was part of a group of swimmers in distress when first responders arrived about 2:12 p.m. at the Destin beach, about 45 miles west of Panama City Beach.
“A group of people in the water near the second sandbar had reportedly been struggling to make their way back to shore,” it said. “One of the individuals, an adult male, went under and lifeguards say he was not breathing when pulled out.”
Multiple swimmers have died in recent days along Florida’s Gulf Coast, where swim-at-your-own-risk and swimming-prohibited notices have been posted at some beaches.
The coast along Panama City Beach was the subject of a coastal hazard message effective at 10 a.m. Tuesday into the night. The National Weather service warning says dangerous rip currents were to be expected.
“Rip currents can sweep even the best swimmers away from shore into deeper water,” it said.
The area of Panama City Beach has been the location of 12 “surf zone” deaths this year through Sunday, according to preliminary data from the National Weather Service. Ten of the 12 happened this month, according to the agency.