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Friends create GoFundMe for Gavin Escobar's widow and children

The former SDSU and NFL player died in a rock climbing accident last week near Idyllwild.

SAN DIEGO — An SDSU teammate of Gavin Escobar is trying to help the former Aztec and NFL player's family in their time of need.

Last week the Riverside County Sheriff's reported Escobar and his friend had been killed while rock climbing near Idyllwild.

Ten years ago, Escobar played as a tight end for San Diego State University.

His teammates still remember what a great player he was and remained friends off the field.

Jake Bernards is still trying to process the loss of his former teammate, 31-year-old Gavin Escobar, who was killed while rock climbing with a friend.

“Shocking news took my breath away, I had no words, it almost seemed surreal. Like it didn't even happen,” said Bernards.

Benards played football at SDSU with Escobar who was the Aztec's tight end from 2009 to 2012.

He was more than just a teammate; he was his college roommates and remained friends.

“Gavin was such a genuine person. And were close friends that we could go years without talking to each other and pick up right where we left off, which was one of his better qualities,” said Bernards.

The grief has been felt beyond SDSU, the Cowboys tweeted their condolences.

Dallas drafted Escobar in 2013 where he played for four seasons.

In 2019 he ended his football career with the San Diego fleet, an Alliance of American Football League.

In February the father joined the Long Beach Fire Department.

Bernards says Escobar was a fighter on and off the grid iron. While in college, he beat testicular cancer and often expressed himself through painting and playing piano.

“He just had so many avenues to an outlet to show and express himself to his friends and family. So, I think that multidimensionality is what sticks with me,” said Bernards.

He created a GoFundMe to honor Escobar and help his wife Sarah and their two daughters.

Escobar will miss his daughter, Josey's 7th birthday next week. His youngest daughter Charlotte is 4 years old.

“He was the most involved dad I know. I've been around and he would go skateboarding with them," said Bernards.

Escobar's friend, experienced rock climber and documentarian, Chelsea Walsh, also died in the rock-climbing accident,” said Bernards.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department is still working to determine the cause.

Bernards says Escobar was an avid and experienced rock climber too.

While they may be gone, Escobar's friends are not forgetting the impact he made after his football career.

“I hope this fund can at least provide a legacy for him, whether it's turns into a college fund or just to help Sarah transition through this grieving process,” said Bernards.

A memorial service for Escobar is being planned but a date has not been scheduled.

RELATED: Gavin Escobar, former Aztec, killed in Riverside County rock climbing incident

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