Former Florida State and NFL offensive tackle Todd Williams was found dead in a Tampa Bay area hotel room Monday of undetermined causes. He was 35.
The Manatee County Sheriff's Office was called Monday morning to the Sarasota Suites hotel where Williams lived, after his body was found by his mother, Ozepher Fluker. A sheriff's office spokesman said there was no evidence of foul play, and that an autopsy will determine the cause of death.
Fluker told the Bradenton Herald that Williams had complained to her of a month-long illness, during which he had suffered vomiting, stomach pain, and an inability to taste. She advised Williams to go to the hospital Friday, but had not heard from her son after that.
A native of Bradenton and a graduate of the city's Southeast High, Williams was a redshirt freshman on the 1999 Florida State national championship team. He was drafted in the seventh round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans, with whom he would appear in seven NFL games. His NFL career also included stops with Tampa Bay and Green Bay.
After his grandmother's death in 1993, the Herald writes, Williams was homeless for a time but eventually fulfilled his promise to her to graduate high school. He would go on to earn degrees in sociology and criminology from Florida State and win the NCAA's 2002 Inspirational Athlete of the Year Award.
Williams was working as a teacher at Bradenton's Manatee Y Technological High School at the time of his death.