LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – An acclaimed former USC football player died while walking along a freeway in the San Fernando Valley last week under undisclosed circumstances.
Thirty-one-year-old Kevin Ellison, who played safety for USC between 2005 and 2008, died Thursday, Oct. 4, while walking along the 5 Freeway, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The exact location and time of death was not released. According to Los Angeles County coroner’s office records, the cause of death was not confirmed pending an investigation. It was unclear if he was struck by a vehicle.
Ellison’s brother, Chris Ellison told the Times that Kevin “was disoriented and didn’t know where he was at” when he died.
“I’m sure he was trying to come home and find his family. We love him so much,” Chris Ellison said.
USC also confirmed the death in a Twitter post Saturday: “#FightOnForever, Kevin Ellison. The former USC captain and 3-time Rose Bowl winner died this week. He was 31.”
Retired Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing, a teammate of Ellison at USC, honored Ellison in an Instagram post.
“This hurts more than anything I could’ve ever imagined,” Cushing wrote. “Kev you were the best friend and teammate anyone could’ve asked for. Coming in as freshman together I always admired your heart and dedication. I’m going to miss you bro forever. RIP.”
The Inglewood native was a two-time All-Pac-10 selection. He was selected by the San Diego Chargers in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He played nine games for the team, then briefly joined the offseason roster for the Seattle Seahawks in 2010.
According to 247Sports.com, while playing for the Chargers, Ellison was arrested in Redondo Beach in 2010 on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance while driving after police found 100 Vicodin pills in his car.
Kevin Ellison faced federal arson charges in 2012 while playing for the Arena Football League’s Spokane Shock after he caused $50,000 in damage by setting his bed on fire at the Big Trout Lodge in Liberty Lake, Wash. According to court records cited by The Times, Ellison said God told him to set the fire.
The case was eventually dismissed after Ellison was ordered to pay more than $80,000 in restitution.
Chris Ellison said his brother struggled with mental health issues in recent years.
“My mom and sister and dad and brother did everything they could,” Chris Ellison told the Times.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)