Former Buccaneers running back Michael Pittman's uncle, Sherman Pittman, has died from COVID-19 at age 61.
ESPN's Jenna Laine shared the tragic news on social media Saturday afternoon on behalf of the Pittman family.
"Michael wanted to express how much he and his family sincerely appreciate all your prayers," Laine said. "Please continue to pray for his family and so many others going through this right now."
Sherman Pittman had been in the hospital for three weeks before he died, and Laine previously reported that he was in a coma and in critical condition after contracting the virus. The former NFL player asked her to post the initial news about his uncle "to increase awareness about the dangers of coronavirus."
Michael Pittman played in the NFL for 11 seasons with the Cardinals, Buccaneers and Broncos. He finished his career with 5,627 rushing yards and won the 2003 Super Bowl with Tampa Bay. His oldest son Michael Pittman Jr. was a star receiver at USC and is expected to be picked in the 2020 NFL draft. His younger son Mycah Pittman just finished his freshman season at Oregon.
Globally there are more than 640,500 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in at least 177 countries. The U.S. has the most recorded cases in the world with 112,468 after it surpassed China and Italy earlier this week.