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Widefield grad, former NFL star Vincent Jackson dead at 38


Last updated 2/16/2021 at 4:11pm

Cpl. Alejandro Pena

Vincent Jackson addresses U.S. Service members while participating in the 76th USO tour on Camp Leatherneck, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, March 1, 2013.

Vincent Jackson, a former Widefield High School football star (class of 2001), who went on to play professionally for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers, was found dead in his Florida hotel room Monday.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) in Florida is investigating the 38-year-old's death.

"We are always saddened by the loss of a district community member," Widefield School District 3 officials said in a statement. "Vincent Jackson was a special part of the Widefield community. Our hearts are with his family and friends during this very difficult time."

According to hotel staff, Jackson, a South Tampa resident, checked into a hotel in Brandon, Fla., on Jan. 11 and had been staying there since that date, HCSO said.

On Feb. 10, HCSO spoke with Jackson's family members who called to report that he was missing. A formal report was filed on Feb. 11. The following day, HCSO located Jackson at the Homewood Suites and spoke with him. After assessing Jackson's well-being, the missing persons case was canceled.

Jackson was located deceased at approximately 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 15 in his hotel room by a housekeeper.

Authorities said there were no apparent signs of trauma. The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office will determine the cause of death.

Jackson was well loved in the sports world and known to many as VJax, but he is also remembered for his generous philanthropic efforts.

Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

The 2013 photo above shows Tampa Bay Buccaneer wide receiver Vincent Jackson attempting to receive a pass during the first quarter of the 2013 National Football League Pro Bowl Jan. 27, 2013, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. Several hundred service members assigned to bases throughout Hawaii were honored during opening ceremonies and the halftime celebration.

"My heart aches for the many loved ones Vincent Jackson leaves behind, from his wife and children to the Buccaneers nation that adored him," Sheriff Chad Chronister said. "Mr. Jackson was a devoted man who put his family and community above everything else. Football aside, he touched countless lives through his Jackson In Action 83 Foundation. We shared a passion for supporting military families, and three years ago, Jackson was even made an honorary deputy by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to recognize his dedication to the community. He will be sorely missed by not only football fans across the country, but also the people here in Hillsborough County who reaped the benefits of his generous contributions."

Jackson grew up in a military family and devoted a lot of time during his professional years helping and honoring military service members and their families.

He graduated from Widefield High School and went on to play at University of Northern Colorado before being drafted by San Diego. He retired from the NFL in 2018 and stayed busy with business endeavors in the Tampa Bay community.


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