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Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano dead at 56

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Sparano also served as head coach of the Dolphins and Raiders.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings-Training Camp Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings and the NFL community are mourning the passing of Tony Sparano, who died unexpectedly earlier today at the age of 56. Sparano, who has coached in the NFL since the late 1990s, was entering his third year of leading the Vikings offensive line.

While no exact cause for his passing has been reported yet, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen report that Sparano was dealing with chest pains over the past week:

1/2 More details on tragic passing of Vikings’ OL coach Tony Sparano, via @mortreport. Sparano complained about chest pains this weekend and went to hospital Thursday. Doctors did tests, but released him Friday.

2/2 Tony Sparano and his wife, Jeannette, were about to leave for church this morning when she found him unconscious in their kitchen. She tried CPR, but he could not be revived. He was 56.

Over the course of his career, Sparano has worked for multiple teams – most notably the New England Patriots’ divisional rivals from Miami: he served as the Dolphins’ head coach from 2008 to 2011 and in his first year at the job helped his team break the Patriots’ AFC East dominance by winning the division for the first time since 2000.

Our thoughts go out to the Sparano family and the entire Vikings organization.