BYU Football Player, 22, Dead After Wall Collapses at a Hawaii Home: 'He Was a Gentle Giant'

Funeral and memorial costs for Sione Veikoso
Funeral and memorial costs for Sione Veikoso

GoFundMe Sione Veikoso

Sione Veikoso, a freshman offensive linebacker from Brigham Young University, died Friday after a retaining wall collapsed at a construction project in his Kailua, Hawaii, hometown.

The athlete was caught beneath some rubble after the 15-foot retaining wall, which Veikoso was helping to repair, collapsed. Three other people were also injured in the accident, according to the Honolulu Fire Department.

After the wall fell apart, firefighters reportedly arrived on the scene to find a number of bystanders trying to remove rocks from atop the trapped individuals. However, as NBC News reports, Veikoso was trapped deeper beneath the rocky rubble than the others, and he was pronounced dead at 1:35 p.m., after finally being extricated.

Veikoso was a 6-foot-7, 305-pound lineman who had recently completed his first season at Brigham Young after transferring there from Arizona State.

The death of the young man, described by his cousin as a "gentle giant" to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, shocked his teammates.

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Veikoso's coach, Kalani Sitake, tweeted after the accident, "We are extremely saddened to learn of the tragic death of one of our brothers, Sione Veikoso. His passing is heartbreaking to all of us. ... Our love for you is forever, Sione!"

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"Rest in Love Sione. God be with you till we meet again," BYU football said in a tweet.

"The BYU Football Family mourns the passing of our dear teammate and fellow Cougar, Sione Veikoso," Tom Holmoe, BYU's athletic director, also tweeted. "May his family and friends feel our love and faith at this most sacred and difficult time. Peace be with you now and forever Sione."

BYU Football has also organized a GoFundMe for well-wishers to donate for Veikoso's funeral costs.