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Tony Sparano, Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach, dies at 56

Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano seen Sun., Aug. 27, 2017.

AP

EAGAN, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano died Sunday, the team said. He was 56. The team announced Sparano's death in a statement that did not provide a cause. Sparano had been the Vikings' offensive line coach since 2016.

"Tony was a passionate and driven individual who cared deeply about his family, and especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren," Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf said in the statement. "Tony's presence within the Vikings organization will be deeply missed."

Sparano began his NFL coaching career in 1999 and had stints as a head coach with the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders. He was the Dolphins' head coach from 2008-11 and went 29-32. He went 11-5 and won the AFC East in his first season with Miami.

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos

Interim head coach Tony Sparano of the Oakland Raiders seen Dec. 28, 2014.

Getty

Sparano also spent time with the Browns, Redskins, Jaguars, Cowboys and 49ers. His former players mourned Sparano on Twitter on Sunday.

Sparano played at the University of New Haven where he was a four-year letterman. He was hired as New Haven's head coach in 1994 and held that position for five seasons.

Sparano is survived by his wife, two sons, a daughter and four grandchildren. The Vikings open training camp on July 28.