The college football world is in mourning after BYU offensive lineman Sione Veikoso died in a construction accident, the school announced. Veikoso died after a retaining wall in a construction project collapsed while he was working in his hometown of Kailua, Hawaii. He was 22 years old.
“We are extremely saddened to learn of the tragic death of one of our brothers, Sione Veikoso,” BYU football coach Kalani Sitake said in a statement.
“His passing is heartbreaking to all of us. We offer our deepest condolences and prayers to his family as we share in their grief. Our love for you is forever, Sione!”
A 15-foot high rock wall collapsed at a construction site in Kailua, killing Veikoso and injuring three other people, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser.
Three men were trapped beneath the rubble and firemen had to remove rocks from the site by hand due to the instability of the wall.
“The BYU Football Family mourns the passing of our dear teammate and fellow Cougar, Sione Veikoso,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a statement.
“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.”
Veikoso transferred to BYU after redshirting in his first season at Arizona State following a two-year Mormon mission in Brazil.
He played in one game for BYU this past season, against Utah Tech in the team’s regular season finale victory that made the team bowl eligible.
“He was a gentle giant who loved his family,” Veikoso’s cousin Joshua Kava told the Star Advertiser. “He was reliable and caring.”
On behalf of the entire BYU Football family, our thoughts and prayers are with Sione's family and friends during this extremely difficult time.
Rest in Love Sione. God be with you till we meet again. pic.twitter.com/Bn0oW4kylY
— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) December 31, 2022