DETROIT (WXYZ) - The Wayne State football team has become a legitimate power in the NCAA's Division II in the past two years, but Monday, they suffered an insurmountable loss.
Senior lineman Serxho Guraleci died this morning while working out.
An intricate part of the football team the past four seasons, Guraleci was lifting weights with teammates before he collapsed and died.
Born in Albania, Guraleci grew up in Sterling Heights and attended Utica Stevenson High School. He played in all 48 games during his four-year college career and started in 25 of them.
Following his senior year, he won the Cortez Smith Award, in honor of his former fallen teammate who was killed two years ago.
Wayne State's Athletic Department released the following statement Monday afternoon.
Former Wayne State University football student-athlete Serxho Guraleci passed away this morning while at an off-campus workout facility in Macomb County.
Guraleci, who completed his athletic eligibility last November, was a four-year (2009-12) defensive tackle for the Warriors who played in all 48 games during his career starting 25 times.
"This is a devastating loss for the Wayne State football family," stated head football coach Paul Winters . "Serxho was loved by everyone. We are all having a hard time understanding this. We will surely miss him."
He was a 2012 All-GLIAC Second Team selection by the league's head coaches.
At last months WSU Football Banquet, Guraleci was presented the WSU Football Courtney "Cortez" Smith award, which is presented to the WSU football student-athlete who best exemplifies what Smith stood for - "It's all about Character."
He was still enrolled at WSU this semester completing degree requirements in kinesiology and secondary education. He earned Wayne State Academic accolades four different semesters and GLIAC All-Academic Team recognition every year he could have been so honored.
The athletic department has arranged for grief counseling.
Visitation and service information will be released at a later time.