- Kevin Gemmell, ESPN Staff Writer
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Some sad news out of USC this weekend. The school announced that former starting offensive guard Fred Matua died Sunday morning at age 28 of a heart related issue.
Matua, a starter on USC's 2003 and 2004 national championship teams, was a 2005 All-Pac-10 second-team selection as a junior.
“It is incredibly sad that Fred has left us at such a young age,” said USC head coach Lane Kiffin in a statement. Kiffin was an assistant at USC during Matua’s Trojan career. “Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. The Trojan Family has lost a true warrior. He brought a defensive lineman’s mentality to our offensive line and was a big reason for the success we had on those national championship teams. He was a loud, passionate and feisty player who competed on every play in every practice and every game. He was the heart and soul of those offensive lines.”
Matua left USC in 2005 and was a seventh round pick of the Detroit Lions, though he played for Cleveland that season. He was also on the Tennessee and Washington practice squads and was also in the United Football League.
He is survived by his mother and stepfather, his grandmother, a sister and his 4-year-old daughter Tiamoni.