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Alex Scarborough, ESPN Staff Writer 17d

Crimson Tide superfan Walt Gary dies at 36

College Football, Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama superfan Walt Gary died Thursday night at the age of 36.

Gary, a Tuscaloosa native with Down syndrome, became a fixture of the football program under former coach Gene Stallings, who was a father to a son with Down syndrome and welcomed Gary to practices.

Under coach Nick Saban, Gary would visit with the team on Thursdays before games, greeting players and even giving Saban his score predictions.

"Walt is one of the people that, in my opinion, project the spirit and tradition of Alabama football," Saban told ESPN's College GameDay in 2018.

Saban said in a statement Friday that Gary was "beloved by everyone on our team, in our athletic department and throughout the Alabama family."

Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne earlier tweeted news of Gary's death on Friday morning, noting how "full of joy" Gary was as well as his love for the Crimson Tide.

Several former players also posted on social media about how much a part of the program Gary had become.

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