BALTIMORE (WBFF) – A family spokesperson has confirmed the death of Keion Carpenter, a former NFL safety who hailed from Baltimore and frequently visited his hometown to give back.
Carpenter passed away at 6:47 a.m. Thursday in Miami. The day before, Carpenter’s family said he had been hospitalized and was “getting the best care possible,” but asked for prayers and privacy while he remained in a coma. He collapsed while running in Florida.
Carpenter's family released a statement which reads, "It is with regret that we as a family announce that at 6:47 am Keion Eric Carpenter was pronounced dead, at Jackson South Community Hospital in Miami, Florida. Keion collapsed while on a family vacation and remained in a coma for 24 hours. Keion('s) remains will be flown back to Baltimore for burial."
He got his start at Woodlawn High School before playing for Virginia Tech and moving on to the NFL, where he played for the Buffalo Bills and the Atlanta Falcons.
"He had a vision to want to make other people's lives better. And he put in the time in the work and made the sacrifices to do that," former Woodlawn High School football coach Brian Scriven said. "Those intimate conversations and moments that we had will be cherished for the rest of my life."
Carpenter gave back to his community by forming The Carpenter House, a nonprofit that works to support those in need and empower families from disadvantaged backgrounds by focusing on providing jobs, affordable housing and mentoring. The organization celebrated its 10th anniversary in the spring of 2016; to learn more about it, click here.
"I really wanted to come back here and put something together to help the kids and the community because it gave me so much," Carpenter said at the time of the nonprofit's 10th anniversary. "It gave me the opportunity to do the things I wanted to do in life and I feel like I owe it to my city to come back and give back. There’s still a lot of work to be done and 10 years went by pretty fast, but it’s been fun and I’ve been enjoying the process, enjoying the journey just serving my community."
The Carpenter House board member and childhood friend Jasmine Richardson told FOX45 the charity's work will continue in Carpenter's honor.
"His charity was basically just an extension of who he was. There are so many kids that went to camp that Keion just knew that all feel like they lost a father today, and I've had a lot of those calls," Richardson said. "He just said such a big heart. And it was real. It was genuine. It was gold, and it was a replaceable. He was more than a great football player. He was more than a fill-in therapist. He was all those things, but he was a good human being."