AceShowbiz - Ex-NFL star Reche Caldwell has died at 41 years old. The former wide receiver, who played with Tom Brady for New England Patriots in 2006, passed away after he was shot in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, June 6.
The retired athlete's mother Deborah has confirmed the sad news to TMZ Sports. Detailing the incident, she said her son, whose real name was Donald Reche Caldwell Jr., was getting ready to take his girlfriend out on a date at the time of the attack.
He went back inside his home to grab a jacket when he was "ambushed" by a "couple of people" who jumped out of bushes trying to rob him. The former professional football player was shot in the leg and chest.
Someone called 911 and Reche was transported to the hospital, but he died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
However, after early investigation, police say that it appears Reche was targeted in the shooting and it wasn't a random act. "Upon arrival, officers located an adult male victim of a gunshot wound in the front yard of a residence. Officers immediately began providing life-saving measures," cops say.
"Tampa Fire Rescue arrived and transported the victim to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced deceased," they add. "This does not appear to be a random act. However, it is very early in the investigation and detectives are working to develop leads in the case. Updates will be provided as they become available."
Cops are asking the public for help in investigating the crime, saying anyone with info should contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.
"He was a good person who smiled all of the time," Deborah remembered her son. She went on praising Reche, "He tried to help everyone he could. He was the type of guy who would take his shirt off his back and give it to you."
The Patriots have sent out condolences to Reche's family. "We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of former Patriot Reche Caldwell," they posted on their social media page. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."
His former teammate Benjamin Watson tweeted, "Always kept us laughing and light hearted. Always had the biggest smile. Always had the greatest stories. Sad to hear about the passing of my teammate Reche Caldwell. May the Lord comfort his family during this time."
NFL coach Steve Spurrier also expressed his sympathy as writing, "We are all saddened by the death of Reche Caldwell. He was one of the best WR's in school history and was very instrumental in winning the 2000 SEC Championship. We will always remember him and RIP Reche! -Coach S.S."