• Jessie Lemonier was 25 years old
  • He is survived by his elder brother Corey
  • The player was about to make his debut with the Birmingham Stallions in April

Former Detroit Lions outside linebacker Jessie Lemonier has died at the age of 25.

The football team issued a statement after confirming the tragic news Thursday. Lions described Lemonier as a "model teammate and wonderful young man" and sent prayers for his grieving friends and family.

Lemonier would have celebrated his 26th birthday on Jan. 31. No details have been provided about his cause of death.

Following the announcement, tributes poured in for the 2019 Cure Bowl's MVP Honors receiver.

Lemonier began his professional career in 2020 with the Los Angeles Chargers. He then signed with the Lions' practice squad in 2021 and appeared in seven games for them. The Florida native spent the last offseason with the Arizona Cardinals after which he signed up with the United States Football League (USFL) and was about to debut as a member of the Birmingham Stallions in April.

"He was a talented football player and by all accounts a wonderful person. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time," the USFL in a statement to WBRC said.

Before his NFL career, Lemonier played two seasons for Liberty University. The school paid tribute to their former player who helped them move from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), which is the highest level of college football in the U.S.

"The Liberty Athletics family is deeply saddened to learn about the passing of former Flames football great Jessie Lemonier," the Virginia school said in a statement. "Jessie was loved by Flames Nation for being a fierce competitor on the gridiron and cherished by his coaches and teammates in the locker room."

"My brother man. We came in to the league together had to battle through everything rookie year to get where we are. You were always filled with life bro. I LOVE YOU BRO! Please check up on your people. PLEASE," Los Angeles Chargers defensive end and Lemonier's former teammate Breiden Fehoko tweeted.

"Need a lot of time to gather my wits after hearing of the tragic death of our client, friend & brother Jessie Lemonier. We will forever be grateful for the laughter & smiles we shared together. Absolute tragedy. RIP," wrote David canter, from GSE Worldwide talent representation company.

On the personal front, Lemonier was about to be a first-time father. He was expecting a child with his girlfriend, the player's agent Drew Smith told ESPN. Lemonier and his partner maintained a low profile and not much information was available about the latter. He is survived by his older brother Corey, an ex-NFL player who played for the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, the Lions and New York Jets. Little is known about the brothers' parents and other relatives.

Matthew Stafford Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions celebrates after throwing a touchdown to Michael Roberts #80 (not pictured) against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on October 21, 2018 in Miami, Florida. Michael Reaves/Getty Images