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William White dies from ALS at 56

Philadelphia Eagles v Detroit Lions

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 31: Chris Spielman, left, embraces William White, both former Detroit Lions players, during the Pride of the Lions celebration during halftime in the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Ford Field on October 31, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

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Former Lions defensive back William White has died after a battle with ALS, the team announced Thursday. He was 56.

“I loved William,” Lions special assistant to president/CEO Chris Spielman said in a statement. “We shared experiences of joy and sorrow on and off the field. He was and always will be my brother. I am forever grateful for the special moment last year when he was able to be by my side during the Pride of the Lions ceremony at Ford Field. I can’t wait to see him again when he will be free from ALS. May God’s peace rest upon his family.”

The Lions drafted White in the fourth round of the 1988 draft out of Ohio State. He played six seasons in Detroit before finishing his career with three seasons in Kansas City and two in Atlanta.

White played 170 games with 132 starts and totaled 721 tackles and 20 interceptions.

In 2016, doctors diagnosed White with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the progressive neurodegenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.