Albany Star AJ Simon Died Just a Week Before the NFL Draft — What Happened?

AJ Simon was not guaranteed to be drafted in the 2024 NFL Draft, but he was on some draft boards.


Apr. 19 2024, Published 10:15 a.m. ET

The entire sports world is looking forward to the NFL draft and what it might mean for the future of the league's 32 teams, as well as each of the players with the potential to be drafted. Being drafted into the NFL can be life-changing for players, many of whom are hoping to prove themselves on the biggest stage the game has to offer.

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News recently broke that AJ Simon, one potential draft prospect out of Albany, died at age 25 just a week before the draft. Following the news of his death, many wanted to learn more about what happened to AJ, and what his cause of death was.

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What was AJ Simon's cause of death?

AJ's cause of death wasn't made clear in initial statements about his death. The University of Albany, where he played football, was the first to announce he had passed away.

"The UAlbany football program was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student-athlete Amitral 'AJ' Simon this morning," the school wrote.

"AJ was a tremendous young man and even better teammate throughout his time at UAlbany," the statement continued. "He was a role model both on and off the field, serving as a pillar to this program over the last two years."

AJ played the past two seasons for Albany after beginning his college career with Bloomsburg University. While he wasn't guaranteed to go in this year's NFL draft, it was certainly a possibility that he would have been selected.

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"My prayers are dedicated to the Simon family. I love you AJ and will always have a special place in my heart for #8," Albany coach Greg Gattuso wrote on Twitter.

The news was especially dramatic because of its proximity to the NFL draft, but the story of AJ's death is likely to continue developing in the weeks to come, as we learn more about exactly what happened to him.

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Teammates and fans remembered AJ following the announcement.

Even as some people wanted to learn more about what happened to AJ, many others were spending their time remembering the teammate and friend that they knew.

Anton Juncaj, one of AJ's former teammates at Albany who once described him as his "best friend," posted a lengthy tribute to his friend on his Instagram Stories.

“All you ever did was make sure I was straight and u was always there for me when I needed anything,” Anton wrote. “I’m going to continue what we was just talking about. I love you Big Bro.”

Shawn Page Jr., a former teammate at Bloomsburg added his own tribute.

“Got the whole world posting you,” he wrote. “Really made a name for yaself champ. Prada you.”

AJ's life was cut tragically short at a pivotal moment in his life, but the tributes being paid to him suggest that he won't be forgotten by those who knew him. It's unclear when more information about his death might be disclosed to the public.

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