In an emotional ceremony and amid an outpouring of love and support, the Lewis family laid to rest one of their own in a heartwrenching private funeral service held on Saturday at Calvary Orlando church in Florida. Ray Lewis III, 28, son of famed linebacker Ray Lewis, was found unresponsive at his Casselberry, Florida, home at around 5 p.m. on June 14, per a police report obtained by People magazine.
According to Daily Mail, the Seminole County Fire Department transported Ray Lewis III from the South Sunset Drive property to the Advent Health Hospital in Altamonte Springs, where he was declared dead, with the cause of death ruled an accidental overdose.
A report from officers provided to the Orlando Sentinel states authorities on the scene used the opioid reversal drug Narcan in an attempt to revive Ray Lewis III, “but there was no change to his condition.”
“The evidence and witness accounts show this incident to be a tragic accident,” Michael Schaefer, the Casselberry police captain, told the Sentinel about the accidental overdose. “Our sympathies go out to the Lewis family and friends.”
Although the NFL legend went through many trials in his years as a footballer, nothing compares to the anguish the Hall of Famer likely faces in the midst of his son’s tragic and sudden passing. Ray Lewis III was on the path to follow in his father’s footsteps, having played running back in college.
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The NFL legend gave an emotional speech eulogizing his late son. His comments were part of a 16-minute video shared by DXB Media.
“We will see you again. 28 years, watching my first-born child… the referees thought I was crazy running up and down the sideline,” the Baltimore Ravens linebacker said. “Everybody that’s here in this room today for my son, from the deepest corners of my family’s heart, thank you.”
“My son used to always say to me, ‘Pops, let’s make today a good day.’ And today, now that I finally see my son’s physical body, you will make today a good day,” Ray Lewis added, clasping his hands together and gesturing up toward the sky.
Ray Lewis played for the Ravens across his 17-year career and is widely considered the greatest middle linebacker in NFL history. Both went to the University of Miami, where they played college football for the Miami Hurricanes. Ray Lewis III played for the Miami Hurricanes, Coastal Carolina Chanticleers and Virginia Union Panthers during his college career.
Ray Lewis III was one of the ex-Ravens linebacker’s six children. He is survived by sisters Diaymon Lewis and Kaitlin Lewis and brothers Rayshad Lewis and Ralin Lewis.
In the funeral program, the family — including Ray Lewis and Ray Lewis III’s mother, Tatyana McCall thanked everyone for their support.
“Ray ‘Ray Ray’ Anthony Lewis III’s parents and family would like to express our sincerest thanks to all of you for the love, support and kind deeds you’ve shown us during the loss of our loved one. Your kindness is deeply appreciated. It is our prayer that God surrounds you with grace, mercy and overflowing of blessings,” McCall wrote.
In the wake of his death, friends, family and former college football associates gathered to mourn his loss. The Gilette Mustangs, formerly known as the Wyoming Mustangs of the Champions Indoor Football League, released a statement after his passing on June 15.
“We are deeply saddened about the tragic passing of Mustang family member Ray Lewis III,” the team wrote on Instagram. “He was a man of character, a leader, and we are truly blessed to have had him here.”
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“Great young man and a better teammate,” Associate head coach of Virginia Union Diego Ryland told TMZ Sports. “The entire Virginia Union University community is praying for the family as they deal with the loss of Ray.”
Longtime family friend, retired Dallas Cowboys star and Miami Hurricanes wideout Michael Irvin was in attendance at the service, sharing a photo of the program and a video from the service on Twitter and Instagram.
“NO FATHER should ever have to bury his son!” the 57-year-old wrote in the caption. “There is NOT anything anyone can say to ease this depth of pain. Just know this, MY BROTHER, we love you, and God has you.”
NO FATHER 😳🥲should ever have to bury his son! My heart bleeds for my brother @raylewis and his family🙏🏿. There is NOT anything, anyone can say to ease this deapth of pain. Just know this MY BROTHER, we love you and God has you 🙏🏿🙌🏾 pic.twitter.com/UtbONabULo
— Michael Irvin (@michaelirvin88) June 24, 2023
Rahsaan was among those who shared an emotional message regarding his brother’s death.
“Really can’t believe I’m evening typing this, but RIP big brother 🕊 💫,” Rahsaan wrote in an Instagram post. “A true angel. I pray you’re at peace now because I know how much you [were] really hurting.”
“Just watch over us all, big bruh, be our guardian. I promise I’ll make you smile and proud,” he added.
“Brownie, I love [you] with all of my heart,” Diaymon wrote on her Instagram Story. “You will always be my first love and truly are the definition of a quintessential brother. To the most genuine and talented person I know, go get your rest, baby, and I’m glad you’re at peace. Fly high, baby.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with Ray Lewis and all those Ray Lewis III left behind. May he rest in peace.