Former NFL player, George Atkinson III has died at the age of 27, according to multiple reports on December 3. His death comes just 1 year after the suicide of his twin brother, Josh. Learn more about George, here.
George Atkinson III has passed away, multiple outlets, including TMZ, reported on December 3. The former college and pro football player, who reportedly died on December 2, was 27. No other details have been disclosed, and a cause of death has not been released. Learn more about the late athlete, below.
1. George Atkinson III was an American football running back from Oakland, California. — Born on November 29, 1992, George played college football for Notre Dame after he graduated high school. He rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and had 10 rushing touchdowns during his three seasons with the Fighting Irish. He also was a member of the track & field team. In 2014, he signed with the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted free agent. He went on to play two seasons in the NFL, one for the Raiders and one for the Cleveland Browns.
2. His death came just one year after his twin brother committed suicide. — George’s brother Josh Atkinson died of suicide by hanging on Christmas in 2018, soon after their mother passed that October. Their mother died of complications from Crohn’s disease and also suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. The brothers both played for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and were part of the 2011 recruiting class.
3. George suffered from depression leading up to his death. — Both his brother and mother’s deaths weighed heavily on him, as described in a letter he wrote titled, How I Turned My Losses Into Lessons, published by The Unsealed in October. He wrote that Josh’s death put him “on an emotional roller coaster and in a real dark place.” George also wrote that after his brother’s death, “I was 5150’d – forced into the same institution my mom was once in because I, too, tried to harm myself.”
Former Notre Dame running back George Atkinson III has died. Atkinson III has been dealing with depression since the death of his twin brother Josh roughly one year ago. Both were part of Notre Dame’s 2011 recruiting class.— Pete Sampson (@PeteSampson_) December 3, 2019
4. George’s father was an NFL player. — He was the son of former Oakland Raiders safety, two-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl XI champion, George Atkinson II.
5. He was a father. — George had a daughter, who he credited for keeping him strong through his family’s deaths. In the letter mentioned above, he wrote that he was “filled with anger and guilt” after his brother’s death. “I was on an emotional roller coaster and in a real dark place,” he continued, explaining, “Then, I thought about my ‘why.’ When I played football, helping my mom was my ‘why.’ She was the reason I worked so hard – I wanted to help her. Now, my daughter, who is only two years old, is my ‘why.'”