Six weeks ago, 20-year-old Nick Bell was the starting defensive end for Mississippi State University in the season-opening win against Georgia.
But Bell's promising future was cut short Tuesday, when the 6-foot-3, 265-pound redshirt sophomore died suddenly from cancer.
"The emotional roller coaster you go through is hard to comprehend sometimes," MSU head football coach Dan Mullen told the ClarionLedger.com. "We build these guys up to be big, fast, strong, tough. We try to make them feel invincible, that they can accomplish and do anything in this world and then they see this situation. It's just a tidal wave of emotion that runs over our players."
Bell was diagnosed with a form skin cancer on Oct. 1 after a tumor was removed from his brain. He learned last week the cancer had spread.
Bell was supposed to begin chemotherapy this week, but instead he had emergency surgery Monday after he fell ill and a scan revealed another mass on his brain, according to ClarionLedger.com.
The team visited him on Monday after the surgery was performed, but he was not conscious.
Mullen informed the team of Bell's death Tuesday, a university spokesman told the website.
Bell played in four games this season before falling ill.
"I know he's looking down at us right now and I'm sure he's already been picked on a team up in heaven to play football, a game that he loved," Mullen told the website.