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Former SDSU football player dies while rock climbing

Gavin Escobar
Posted at 8:10 PM, Sep 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-30 09:22:19-04

Two rock climbers, including a former NFL player, were found dead near a Southern California peak after rescue crews responded to reports of injuries, authorities said.

The climbers were identified as 33-year-old Chelsea Walsh and 31-year-old Gavin Escobar, a Long Beach firefighter who played four seasons as backup with the Dallas Cowboys and briefly with other teams until ending his career in 2019.

Rescuers were called around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday to Tahquitz Rock near Idyllwild following a distress call, the Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department said on Twitter.

A team managed to climb into the steep, remote area and found both climbers dead at the scene, the department said.

A small amount of rain fell in the area earlier in the day, but officials didn’t immediately say if weather was a factor in the deaths.

Tahquitz Rock, with its steep granite cliffs, is a popular destination for climbers.

Escobar also played for the San Diego State Aztecs. School officials expressed their sadness regarding the news.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gavin's family. I know his wife, Sarah, and daughters, Josey and Charlotte, were everything to him. Gavin was a great man, father, son and teammate, and will be deeply missed by all," said San Diego State Head Coach Brady Hoke.

"We are devastated to hear about the passing of Gavin Escobar. Gavin was the epitome of a student-athlete, and a leader on and off the field. Our thoughts and prayers are with Gavin's family in this incredibly difficult time," Director of Athletics John David Wicker said.