DJ Gnader

(KMAland) -- A former Lewis Central and Northwest Missouri State standout athlete has passed away.

D.J. Gnader died at the age of 29 on Monday. The former Bearcat linebacker was a key member of the 2013 national championship team.

Gnader was also a standout at Lewis Central when he helped the Titans improve from 2-7 in 2007 to 8-1 in 2008 while starring as a two-way player at linebacker and running back. In 2008, Gnader had 121 tackles on defense, 521 yards rushing on offense and 491 yards of kick and punt returns.

Tributes and memories flooded social media, including one from current Northwest Missouri State head football coach Rich Wright: “One of our former warriors left this earth today far too young. DJ Gnader was a quintessential Bearcat. He was intense, driven, and passionate. Our hearts break for his family. But I promise Bostwick met him at heaven’s gate. RIP DJ #oabaab”