Troubling Details Leading up to Christian McCaffrey's Friend Zach Hoffpauir's Death Revealed

Ryan Nall, Zach Hoffpauir
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Former Stanford football defensive back and friend of Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, Zach Hoffpauir, unexpectedly passed away last week. The details regarding his death are still unknown, but his father recently spoke on the matter and provided some insight leading up to the tragedy.

Apparently, Hoffpauir suffered up to six concussions during his football career, which led to severe depression and anxiety, to the point where he previously attempted suicide -- though his father confirmed that was NOT the cause of his death.

Beyond concussions, Hoffpauir suffered from Lyme Disease and had bouts of anxiety and depression. In a podcast recorded last fall, Hoffpauir revealed, "Inside, I was so miserable, but I would fake it ... so the only way I can get myself to feel better is, I'm going to fake it and act like I'm super happy."

These concussions and internal struggles ultimately led to a medical retirement prior to the NFL. It was McCaffrey who played an instrumental role in helping Hoffpauir through his struggles. In that same podcast, Hoffpauir boldly said, "He saved my life."

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Yesterday Heaven gained an angel, and I lost one of my best friends in the world. Zach showed me the way when I got to college. He did things the right way. He taught me how to enjoy life. He taught me how to not give a fuck about what people think about me, and to do it my way. He never lost an argument, or a dance battle, and he said what he meant and meant what he said. I never doubted for a second whether or not he had my back. He was a true friend and a great brother to anyone he knew. He was a walking example of how to care for people, a rare soul. We always talked about living simply when we got older: Hunting, fishing, riding bulls, RVing across the country with @beaukitson (One day we’ll do that). We talked about the little things in life and how to never take for granted a loved one. I’ll cherish all the memories we had bro. I love you and your family and I promise we’ll make you proud. Watch over us. Hug your loved ones extra today. ??

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In explaining his struggles, Hoffpauir also provided hope to those struggling in their own lives, saying, "You have to face your darkness ... you say it into existence and someone else can finally feel okay to say they have an issue. You're helping other people."

Hoffpauir's father stated that the family donated his son's brain to concussion research at Boston University, and in about a year they'll get some more much-needed answers surrounding the former Stanford linebacker's struggles.