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The death Tuesday of Tyler Sash brought sorrow to his hometown of Oskaloosa and left former Iowa football teammates stunned.

The Oskaloosa Police Department confirmed Sash's death in a statement released Tuesday afternoon, but news began breaking on Twitter by midday. The Iowa State Medical Examiner's office first confirmed the death to the Register.

Sash was 27.

"Damn man," ex-Hawkeye lineman Julian Vandervelde tweeted. "You never know the demons someone else is facing. It's a sad day when you lose a brother. R.I.P. Tyler Sash."

According to the police department release, emergency services responded to reports of an unresponsive male around 10 a.m. Tuesday. Upon arrival, it was determined the individual had died and was identified as Sash.

The release went on to say Sash's death is under investigation, but no foul play is suspected. An autopsy will be performed Wednesday morning by the State Medical Examiner's office.

"We are all very saddened to hear about the untimely loss of Tyler," said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz in a statement released late Tuesday afternoon.Ferentz coached Sash from 2008-10 and postponed his scheduled weekly news conference with media to Wednesday. "It is always so difficult when it involves someone this young. Our heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to Tyler's family during this extremely difficult time — and we want them to know they are not in this alone.

"The commitment, passion, and excitement that Tyler brought to football and to life will always endear him to Hawkeye coaches, teammates, and fans. He touched our hearts in many ways and will be missed by all of us."

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The Iowa head football coach speaks a day after the death of one of his former players. Chad Leistikow/HawkCentral.com

A multisport star in high school, Sash went on to earn all-Big Ten honors twice with the Hawkeyes. Sash started 37 games during his Hawkeye career. His 13 interceptions at Iowa rank fifth in school history.

Sash was a beloved member of Iowa's 2009 team, which went 11-2, beat Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl and finished No. 7 in the final Associated Press poll.

"RIP Tyler Sash you will be missed by many," former Iowa lineman Bryan Bulaga tweeted. "My thoughts and prayers are with the Sash family."

He turned pro following his junior season in 2010 and became a sixth-round draft pick of the New York Giants. He earned a Super Bowl ring with the Giants in 2011, his rookie NFL season, and his jersey hangs in Oskaloosa's elementary school cafeteria.

"Tyler is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete who brought a lot of attention to Oskaloosa," school activities director Ryan Parker said. "... When he started his foundation," Parker said, "he gave back to multiple families and multiple kids."

Longtime Oskaloosa football coach Jerry Staton remembers Sash as a ball boy. Staton also worked with Sash's father, Mike, a longtime teacher.

"My heart goes out to the whole family," Staton said. "He was an inspiration to a lot of young men in the community."

Sash was a beloved member of Iowa's 2009 team, which went 11-2, beat Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl and finished No. 7 in the final Associated Press poll.

Sash's NFL career started to unravel in 2012.

He was suspended four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, saying he took the prescription drug Adderall to help with anxiety.

After playing in just seven games that year, the Giants cut Sash before the 2013 season.

In 2014, Sash pleaded guilty to public intoxication after leading Oskaloosa Police officers on a scooter chase.

Foreclosure proceedings on Sash's property had begun in October 2014, according to a search of online court records. The process was reported to have been completed in late July.

"I think he had the dream he was going to go back to the NFL," Staton said. "He kind of kept that hope alive.

"Tyler just couldn't seem to find his footing as to what he wanted to do."

Sash's death transcended competitive rivalries, causing thousands to take a moment of pause four days before the annual Cy-Hawk showdown. He tied a school single-game record with three interceptions in a 35-3 win over the Cyclones in 2009.

"Competed with & against @TSash for as long as I can remember," former Cyclone quarterback Austen Arnaud tweeted. "On and off the field a class guy, who wanted to help anyone he could."

In 2013, Sash was named to the Register's all-century high school football squad, determined in part by fan voting.

The Register's Chad Leistikow and Adam Wilson contributed to this report.

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