How did Steve Smith die? Former Las Vegas Raiders icon dies at 57
Former Las Vegas Raiders fullback Steve Smith died tragically at the age of 57 years, as confirmed by the NFL team management on Saturday, November 20, 2021. In a publicly issued statement, the team said, "The prayers of the entire Raider Nation are with Chie, their children Dante and Jazmin, and their grandson Little Steve.” Smith is survived by his wife Chie Aguilar-Hiroto, a former Raiderette cheerleader from Cypress, California. The couple fell in love and got married in December 1989, and stayed together with their family till the end.
"He laid his body on the line for me hundreds of times. I'm just glad God let him stay around as long as he has so I can go see him. I want to do my part to make sure he's not forgotten," Raiders legend Bo Jackson wrote, mourning his former teammate. Smith was well-known for his field tactics in blocking running backs Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen. The three of them grew to be close friends and kept in touch with each other over the years.
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“He’s the toughest fullback I’ve ever seen.”— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) November 21, 2021
Rest in peace to the great Steve Smith 🖤 pic.twitter.com/giM4IjGCTK
How did Steve Smith die?
Born in August 1964, Steven Anthony Smith hailed from Washington, D.C, and attended Pennsylvania State University. At Penn State, he was the team captain of the Penn State Nittany Lions' national championship team. In 1987, he was drafted to the Las Vegas Raiders as a fullback. He played in NFL for nine seasons with the Raiders and Seattle Seahawks. In his later life, Smith became a resident of Richardson, Texas and stayed there with his family till his death.
In July 2002, tragedy descended on the family after Steve Smith was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. His condition deteriorated over time and at one point, he had to be put on a ventilator. In his final days, Smith could not speak and had to be fed through a feeding tube. He communicated with people using a computerized system controlled by eye gestures. The system was donated by The Steve Gleason Foundation.
Though Steve Smith and his wife Chie desperately tried to find a cure for ALS, they were not successful. In 2010, HBO featured Steve Smith in an episode of 'Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel' to share his struggle with Lou Gehrig's disease.
"GREAT RAIDER BETTER MAN RIP STEVE PRAYERS UP TO THE SMITH FAMILY HEARTBREAKING," a fan tweeted in mourning.
Another said, "My sincere condolences to the family, friends, and fans of former Raider Steve Smith who passed away today at age 57 after a two decade battle with ALS. Your at peace now buddy, Godspeed."
"RIP legendary PSU & Oakland Raiders fullback Steve Smith. Succumbed to ALS after nearly 20 yrs with it. A member of the ‘86 National Champ Nittany Lions. 9 yr NFL career, blocked for Bo Jackson & Marcus Allen. Had 13 receiving TD’s in the NFL. A childhood hero of mine. RIP," a third fan said.
GREAT RAIDER BETTER MAN RIP STEVE 🙏 PRAYERS UP TO THE SMITH FAMILY 🙏🙏🙏🙏 HEARTBREAKING 💔 https://t.co/rCINgcs6bC— Rod Bradley (@RodBradley17) November 21, 2021
My sincere condolences to the family, friends, and fans of former Raider Steve Smith who passed away today at age 57 after a two decade battle with ALS. Your at peace now buddy, Godspeed. 😪🙏🏻🖤🏴☠️🏈 #Raiders #RaiderNation #OnceARaiderAlwaysARaider pic.twitter.com/S8T2vabqPI— Paul Opdyke 🏁🏈⚾️⚽️🎸🛐 (@paulopdyke7nj) November 21, 2021
RIP legendary PSU & Oakland Raiders fullback Steve Smith. Succumbed to ALS after nearly 20 yrs with it. A member of the ‘86 National Champ Nittany Lions. 9 yr NFL career, blocked for Bo Jackson & Marcus Allen. Had 13 receiving TD’s in the NFL. A childhood hero of mine. RIP 🙏 pic.twitter.com/CQbIyqE3Vf— John R. Murphy 🇺🇸 (@Jmurphdawg73) November 20, 2021
We extend our sincere condolences to Steve Smith's family at a difficult time like this and offer our tribute to the legendary hero.