Former Detroit Lions linebacker Mike Cofer passed away on March 21, 2019, at the age of 58. He had been battling amyloidosis, a rare and incurable disease that affects the organs and tissues of the body. His death was announced by the Lions and his son, Phil Cofer, who plays basketball for Florida State University.
What is Amyloidosis?
Amyloidosis is a condition in which abnormal proteins called amyloids accumulate in various parts of the body, such as the heart, kidneys, liver, nerves, and skin. These proteins interfere with the normal functioning of the organs and cause damage and failure over time. There are different types of amyloidosis, depending on the source and location of the amyloid deposits. Some forms are inherited, while others are acquired or associated with other diseases, such as multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer.
According to WebMD, amyloidosis is a rare disease that affects about 4,000 people in the United States each year. The symptoms vary depending on the organs involved, but they may include fatigue, weight loss, swelling, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, numbness, and pain. There is no cure for amyloidosis, but treatments can help manage the symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease. Some of the treatments include chemotherapy, stem cell transplant, organ transplant, and supportive care.
Mike Cofer’s Career and Legacy
Mike Cofer was a standout player at the University of Tennessee, where he was a captain and an All-SEC selection in 1982. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the third round of the 1983 NFL draft and played for them for 10 seasons, from 1983 to 1992. He was a two-time Pro Bowler and a member of the Lions’ Silver Rush defense that led the league in sacks in 1983. He ranks second in franchise history with 62.5 career sacks, behind only Robert Porcher.
Cofer was known for his toughness, work ethic, and leadership on and off the field. He was respected and admired by his teammates, coaches, and fans. He was also involved in various charitable causes, such as the United Way and the Lions’ Courage House. He was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
Cofer is survived by his wife, Reba, and his four children, Phil, Michael, Rachel, and Anna. His son, Phil, is a senior forward for the Florida State Seminoles, who were playing in the NCAA tournament when he received the news of his father’s death. Phil missed the next game against Gonzaga to be with his family, but returned to the team for the Sweet 16 matchup against Michigan. The Seminoles wore black stripes on their jerseys to honor Mike Cofer’s memory.
Mike Cofer’s cause of death was amyloidosis, a rare and devastating disease that took his life too soon. He will be remembered as a great football player, a loving father, and a generous man. Rest in peace, Mike Cofer.