Monday, December 27, 2004 - Gibbs Racing mourning the death of NFL's White - Dec 27, 2004 - Gibbs Racing mourning the death of NFL's White - Dec 27, 2004

From Official Release
December 27, 2004
12:12 PM EST (17:12 GMT)

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- Reggie White, a former defensive star in the NFL and a partner in the Joe Gibbs Racing Diversity Program, passed away Sunday. He was 43.

The cause of death was not immediately known, however White had a respiratory ailment for several years that affected his sleep, according to Keith Johnson, a pastor serving as family spokesman. An autopsy was scheduled.

White, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers in his 15-year NFL career, partnered with JGR to form a diversity program in 2003. White was instrumental in the successful beginning of the program.

In 2004, under the leadership of White and Gibbs, Chris Bristol, an African-American competed in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series at Caraway Speedway in Ashboro, N.C., while Aric Almirola, a Hispanic, competed in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C.

Bristol scored one victory and finished fourth in the Caraway Speedway point standings, while Almirola won three races and finished 11th in points at Ace Speedway.

"On behalf my dad and the entire Joe Gibbs Racing family, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to Sara and the White family for their loss," said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. "He was much more than a great football player. He excelled as a husband and father and he honored the Lord with his life.

"It was a true pleasure to collaborate with him on the Joe Gibbs Racing Diversity Program. I know that my father and I, as well as all the employees of JGR, were looking forward to a long relationship with Reggie through this program. All of us at Joe Gibbs Racing will ensure that his vision to cultivate a diversity program within NASCAR will continue. Our thoughts and our prayers are with his family during this difficult time."

NASCAR released the following statement:

"The passing of Reggie White is a loss for the NASCAR community.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the White family, Joe Gibbs Racing, and everyone who had the pleasure of working with Reggie.

"The Reggie White/Joe Gibbs Racing team helped to further diversify NASCAR by providing opportunities to drivers such as Chris Bristol and Aric Almirola."

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