Lilly Kimbell, a former tennis star and University of Georgia alumna, passed away on February 5, 2023, at the age of 31. She died after suffering a heart attack caused by kidney issues, according to her family. She was a beloved member of the Georgia women’s tennis team, and a successful coach and professional in the sports industry. In this article, we will pay tribute to her life and achievements, and explore the cause of her death.
A Stellar Tennis Career
Lilly Kimbell was born in New Braunfels, Texas, on August 8, 1991. She started playing tennis at the age of four, and soon showed her talent and passion for the sport. She was a standout player in high school, leading her team to three state titles and a 75-match winning streak. She was ranked as high as No. 6 in the nation by the United States Tennis Association, and was recruited by several colleges.
She chose to attend the University of Georgia, where she became one of the most decorated players in the history of the women’s tennis program. She played for the Bulldogs from 2010 to 2014, and amassed 197 victories – 109 in doubles and 88 in singles. She reached the NCAA Quarterfinals four times, and won the SEC championship in 2014. She was also a three-time All-American, a four-time All-SEC honoree, and a two-time ITA Scholar-Athlete.
She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Science in 2014, and a master’s degree in Sport Management in 2016. She also worked as a graduate assistant for the athletic department, and helped with the operations and marketing of the tennis program.
A Promising Future Cut Short
After completing her education, Lilly Kimbell pursued a career in coaching and sports administration. She served as an assistant coach at Eastern Illinois University and St. Mary’s University, where she helped develop and mentor young tennis players. She also worked for various companies, such as the Addison Group, Supreme Lending, and Paycom, where she applied her skills and knowledge in sales, marketing, and management.
Lilly Kimbell had a bright future ahead of her, but it was tragically cut short by a sudden and unexpected heart attack. According to her family, she had some kidney issues that led to a cardiac arrest at her home. She was rushed to the hospital, where she received CPR, but she was left without oxygen for too long, which damaged her brain. Her family decided to take her off life support, and she passed away peacefully.
A Legacy of Love and Excellence
Lilly Kimbell’s death shocked and saddened the tennis community, and the Georgia family. She was remembered as a kind, generous, and joyful person, who loved her family, friends, and teammates. She was also admired as a hard-working, dedicated, and talented athlete, who inspired and influenced many people with her performance and attitude.
Her former coach, Jeff Wallace, said in a statement: “I will always remember how she helped create a culture of excellence with her attitude and work ethic. Lilly was a fantastic teammate and was always smiling and laughing during practice and matches. She ranks as one of the most successful doubles players in Georgia tennis history.”
Her former partner, Maho Kowase, said in a tweet: “Lilly, you were my best friend, my sister, my partner, and my everything. You taught me so much about life, tennis, and love. You were always there for me, no matter what. I will never forget our memories, our laughs, our hugs, and our wins. I love you so much, and I miss you so much.”
Her family thanked everyone for their prayers and support, and asked for donations to the Lilly Kimbell Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will benefit future Georgia women’s tennis players.
Lilly Kimbell was a remarkable person, who touched many lives with her kindness and excellence. She was a star on and off the court, and a role model for many. She died at the age of 31, due to a heart attack caused by kidney issues. She will be missed, but her legacy will live on.