Former NFL tight end Gavin Escobar was found dead Thursday after an apparent attempt to scale a rock face near Idyllwild, Calif. He was 31 years old.
A report shared online by the Riverside County Coroner’s Office cited two deaths Thursday, that of Escobar and that of 33-year-old Chelsea Walsh, both of Huntington Beach, Calif. Their place of death was listed as “a rock face”, with time of death 1:18 p.m. after injury at 12:21 p.m.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection shared an ‘unreachable rescue’ report of two injured climbers on Thursday afternoon. The agency declared that after a mountain rescue team was called in, rescuers were able to reach the victims, who were described as having “perished at the scene”.
The site of the incident was Tahquitz Rock, a popular rock climbing site in California’s San Jacinto Mountain Range.
Escobar, who played in the NFL from 2013 to 2017, worked as a firefighter in Long Beach, Calif. The fire department said on social media Thursday that it is breaking the news of his death “with deep sadness.” Noting that Escobar was hired as a firefighter in February, the LBFD said he leaves behind a wife and two young children.
Born in New York, Escobar was a standout high school student in Orange County, California before spending three seasons at San Diego State. Aztecs coach Brady Hoke said in a statement Thursday, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Gavin’s family. I know his wife, Sarah, and daughters, Josey and Charlotte, were everything to him. Gavin was a great man, father, son and teammate, and he will be deeply missed by all.
Escobar was selected in the second round of the 2013 draft by the Dallas Cowboys, with whom he played for four years, racking up 30 catches for 333 yards and eight touchdowns. His final season in the NFL was with the Baltimore Ravens in 2017, after which he played for the San Diego Fleet in the short-lived Alliance of American Football league.
“Gavin was the epitome of a student-athlete and a leader on and off the field,” said SDSU athletic director John David Wicker. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Gavin’s family at this incredibly difficult time.”