NEW ORLEANS – The body of New England Patriots player Marquise Hill, who was reported missing following a jetski accident on Lake Pontchartrain, was found Monday, The Coast Guard confirmed to FOX affiliate WVUE.
Hill's body was discovered by searchers about a quarter of a mile from where the former LSU star and a female companion were involved in the accident, Capt. Brian Clark of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Department said.
"The family will have to make positive identification," Clark said, "but the body we found was that of Mr. Marquise Hill."
The Coast Guard was called Sunday night, Petty Officer Tom Atkeson said. The search began immediately, using boats and helicopters.
By the time the body was found, the Coast Guard, Wildlife and Fisheries, the New Orleans Police Department and Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department were involved, Clark said.
Hill's body was taken to the Orleans Parish Coroner's office, but phone messages left there and on coroner Frank Minyard's cell phone were not immediately returned.
Hill's agent, Albert Elias, said he had been told Hill and a young woman were jetskiing Sunday in the lake when both of them went into the water, which had a strong current. Elias said the woman was able to make it to a pylon and hang on until she was rescued, while Hill was last seen floating away from the scene.
Hill played on LSU's national championship team and was a second-round draft pick by New England in 2004.
"We are all shocked," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement.
The woman, whose identity was not available Monday, was rescued and sent to Tulane Medical Center where she told them Hill had tried to keep her calm as the two were drifting away from each other.
Neither Hill nor the woman wore a life preserver, Atkeson said.
"It's so important to have a life jacket and a signaling device," Atkeson said. "One keeps you afloat and the other helps us find you."
Elias said Hill, a defensive end, spent much of his time since Hurricane Katrina helping family members rebuild their homes.
"From what I hear he's done a lot to help with things after Katrina and I know he had a great passion for the city of New Orleans," said former LSU quarterback Matt Mauck, who was Hill's teammate at LSU. "Off field he was a really kind person, kind of like a gentle giant. And not only for LSU, but for New England and everyone who got chance to meet him throughout his life, everyone has to be extremely saddened and disappointed to hear the news."
After going to the NFL, Hill continued to do much of his offseason training at LSU's Baton Rouge campus, about 80 miles up the Mississippi River from New Orleans, and was known and admired by current Tigers players, university athletics spokesman Michael Bonnette said.
"His presence meant a lot for some of the younger guys. He gave them someone to look up to and he was always there for them," Bonnette said. "Here's a 6-foot-6, 300-pound guy, as intimidating as can be, and yet every time you approached him he always welcomed you with big old smile. In between the lines, he had his game-face on, but outside the lines, in the community or in the weight room, he was always smiling and having good time."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.