The BYU Cougars are mourning 22-year-old offensive lineman Sione Veikoso, who died in a construction accident in his hometown of Kailua, Hawai'i on Friday.
Six men were at the site when a 15-foot retaining rock wall behind a home partially collapsed and trapped three of them, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Veikoso was pronounced dead at the scene, his family confirmed to the newspaper, following emergency personnel clearing the rubble at the site.
“We are extremely saddened to learn of the tragic death of one of our brothers, Sione Veikoso,” Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “His passing is heartbreaking to all of us. We offer our deepest condolences and prayers to his family as we share in their grief. Our love for you is forever, Sione!”
The 6-foot-7, 305-pound lineman played in one game as a redshirt freshman this season for BYU. He started his collegiate career at Arizona State, appearing in one game for the Sun Devils before transferring to BYU this past summer. He was scheduled to fly from Hawai'i back to BYU next week, his family members told the Star-Advertiser.
“On behalf of the entire BYU Football family, our thoughts and prayers are with Sione's family and friends during this extremely difficult time,” the official Twitter account of BYU Football wrote in a statement. “Rest in Love Sione. God be with you till we meet again.”
“He was a gentle giant who loved his family. He was reliable and caring,” Veikoso's cousin Joshua Kava told the Star Advertiser.