The University of Southern California has announced the sad news that Fred Matua, a former starting offensive guard at the school, died Sunday morning of a heart related issue. He was 28.
“It is incredibly sad that Fred has left us at such a young age,” said USC head coach Lane Kiffin in a statement. Kiffin was an assistant at USC during Matua’s Trojan career. “Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. The Trojan Family has lost a true warrior.”
The 6-foot-2, 305-pound Matua helped lead the Trojans to the 2003 and 2004 national championships. In 2004, Fred was also named a sophomore All-American, and in 2005, he was named Second Team All-Pac-10.
“He brought a defensive lineman’s mentality to our offensive line and was a big reason for the success we had on those national championship teams. He was a loud, passionate and feisty player who competed on every play in every practice and every game. He was the heart and soul of those offensive lines.”
Following his career at USC, Matua entered the NFL Draft in 2006 and was selected by the Detroit Lions in the seventh round.
Between 2006-08, he spent time with the Lions, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins. He also played in the United Football League in 2010.
Several former USC teammates and coaches expressed their condolences on Twitter after hearing that Matua passed away Sunday morning. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who coached Fred at USC, wrote:
So saddened to hear about Fred Matua passing away at age 28. Very tough news this morning.
— Pete Carroll (@PeteCarroll) August 5, 2012
Dolphins running back Reggie Bush wrote:
RIP Fred Matua former college teammate and friend. You gonna be missed bro. Way too early…
— Reggie Bush (@reggie_bush) August 5, 2012
Matua is survived by 4-year-old daughter Tiamoni.