Sports

Former Vikings safety Orlando Thomas dies at 42, after long fight with ALS disease

This 1999 photo provided by the NFL shows then-Minnesota Vikings football player Orlando Thomas. Thomas died Sunday night, Nov. 9, 2014, in his hometown of Crowley, La.,  of complications from ALS. He was 42.  (AP Photo/NFL Photos)

This 1999 photo provided by the NFL shows then-Minnesota Vikings football player Orlando Thomas. Thomas died Sunday night, Nov. 9, 2014, in his hometown of Crowley, La., of complications from ALS. He was 42. (AP Photo/NFL Photos)  (The Associated Press)

Former Minnesota Vikings safety Orlando Thomas has died of complications from ALS. He was 42.

Thomas was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease in 2007. He died on Sunday night in his hometown of Crowley, Louisiana. The death was confirmed by the Vikings, Mark Bartelstein, the former agent for Thomas, and Glenn Boullion, the director of Geesey-Ferguson Funeral Home in Crowley.

Thomas was a hard-hitting starter for seven seasons for the Vikings, the last one coming in 2001. He led the NFL in interceptions with nine as a rookie in 1995. Bartelstein said he believes the disease was related to playing football.

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