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EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings say offensive line coach Tony Sparano has died at the age of 56.
The Vikings say Sparano died early Sunday but did not give a cause of death. He had been the Vikings’ offensive line coach since 2016.
“Our hearts go out to Jeanette and the entire Sparano family as we all mourn the loss of Tony,” the team said in a statement. “Tony was a passionate and driven individual who cared deeply about his family, and especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. Tony’s presence within the Vikings organization will be deeply missed. We are only thinking of Tony’s family during this incredibly difficult time. We ask that the entire NFL and Vikings family keep the Sparanos in their thoughts.”
Sparano began his NFL coaching career in 1999 and had stints as a head coach with the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders.
He was the Dolphins’ head coach from 2008-11 and went 29-32. He went 11-5 and won the AFC East in his first season with the Dolphins.
Sparano also spent time with the Browns, Redskins, Jaguars, Cowboys and 49ers.
He played at the University of New Haven where he was a four-year letterman. Sparano was hired as New Haven’s head coach in 1994 and held that position for five seasons.
Sparano is survived by his wife, two sons, a daughter and four grandchildren.
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