Former Chargers and USC Lineman Max Tuerk died on June 20 while hiking with his parents on one of their favorite trails in Cleveland National Forest. Fans of the All-American and NFL player are shocked and saddened by the sudden news, and many people are asking what caused his death.
There hasn't been an official cause of death listed for Max Tuerk.
Details right now are sparse regarding the circumstances surrounding his passing. His family released a terse statement, writing, "Max died on June 20, 2020 while hiking with his parents on a favorite trail in the Cleveland National Forest. Max loved his teammates, coaches, and schools. Max was a loving son and older brother and his passing leaves a giant hole in our hearts. His strength and work ethic is an inspiration to many."
The USC Trojans official Twitter account shared the statement along with their own condolences for the loss of a stand out player. The college team's coach, Clay Helton wrote, "Heartbroken by the loss of Max Tuerk. Incredible person, teammate, and Trojan. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."
The team's former coach, Lane Kiffin also expressed his grief over the loss of Max, "This is awful. So sad. Praying for family and friends. I always loved Max and one of my favorites. #FightOnForever, Max!!!"
Max Tuerk's football career had its ups and downs.
The Trabuco Canyon, Calif. native helped Santa Margarita Catholic High School win a state title in 2011. In 2012, Max was named a College freshman All-American and was then drafted to the All-Pac-12 first team as a college junior in 2014.
Unfortunately, he saw little playtime in his senior season: an ACL injury derailed his hopes for more field action.
Things began looking up for Max, however, when the San Diego chargers brought him on their squad as a third-round draft pick in 2016. He was selected as a "healthy scratch" for the time, meaning that while he was able to play, the NFL only allows 46 of a team's 53 players to actually dress and take the field.
However, he didn't see any playtime during that first year for the Chargers.
The beginning of the 2017 season was a hard one for Max, as well. He tested positive for using performance-enhancing drugs (steroids), and was suspended without pay for the first four games of that season. The Chargers distanced themselves from the Lineman and eventually cut him from their roster.
Heartbroken by the loss of Max Tuerk. Incredible person, teammate, and Trojan. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.— Clay Helton (@USCCoachHelton) June 21, 2020
He would then get to play with the Arizona Cardinals, but only played a single game, which also marked his only NFL appearance, ever. Max was ultimately cut in 2018 and hasn't played for the NFL since.
My thoughts and prayers are with the Tuerk family through these trying times. Max was an unbelievable player, leader and teammate. He embodied what it is to be a Trojan! I was honored to coach and be around such an amazing spirit! Rest In Peace Max Tuerk 🕊🙏🏼✌🏻 #FightOnForever pic.twitter.com/kcSpAdqrFb— Tim Drevno (@CoachDrev) June 21, 2020
Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Max Tuerk in this difficult time.