A former NFL player and respected Baltimore philanthropist died Thursday at the age of 39 after what his family is calling a "freak accident," the Baltimore Sun reports. The accident happened Wednesday while Keion Carpenter was playing with his son during a family vacation in Florida. "They were running to the car when he slipped, fell, hit his head, and slipped into a coma," his cousin says. According to WMAR, Carpenter was in a coma for 24 hours before passing away Thursday. The defensive back played for Virginia Tech before spending six seasons in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons, finishing his professional career with 14 interceptions in 83 games, per Bleacher Report.
Carpenter went on to found the Carpenter House, which helps families from "disadvantaged backgrounds ... reach their highest academic and economic potential." "The guy was amazing, the way he was out in the streets, helping kids and families day by day," a former high-school teammate tells the Sun. "[He was] a role model in every sense of the word." Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh says Carpenter was a "beloved community champion with an uncompromising will to reclaim neglected neighborhoods and improve the lives of the underprivileged." And his former college coach says Carpenter "had a heart of gold," WTKR reports. Carpenter leaves behind a wife and four children.