SAN ANTONIO – Former San Antonio high school football legend and NFL player Gabe Rivera died Monday night at a local hospital. He was 57 years old.
The Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed the death Tuesday.
Rivera, nicknamed "Señor Sack,” was a two-way star for Jefferson High School before becoming one of college football's most dominant linemen at Texas Tech.
His NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers however was tragically cut short by a car accident during his rookie season.
Rivera suffered a spinal cord injury in the accident which left him as a paraplegic.
The first-round NFL draft pick and college All-American finished his four-year career with the Red Raiders with 321 tackles, 34 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, 11 pass deflections and six fumble recoveries.
In six professional games with the Steelers, he tallied two sacks.
Rivera was selected as an inductee to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
He was also named to the Texas Tech Sports Hall of Fame and the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame.
In 2014, his name was added to Texas Tech’s Ring of Honor at Jones AT&T Stadium.
Tributes for the San Antonio legend have poured in since news of his death spread.
Rivera is survived by his wife Nancy and his two children, Timothy and Rae. Funeral services are pending.
Very sad to hear of the passing of Gabe Rivera. The former Jefferson HS,Texas Tech and Pittsburg Steeler passed away tonight according to my friend Ed Garza. The dome will be lit tomorrow night in his honor.— Greg Simmons (@GregSimmonsKSAT) July 17, 2018
R.I.P. Gabe Rivera (Senor Sack.) Jefferson Mustang, Texas Tech Red Raider and Pittsburgh Steeler. One of the GREATEST! pic.twitter.com/86kIlehlVc— SAISD Athletics (@SAISDAthletics) July 17, 2018
We remember the legacy of "Señor Sack" Gabe Rivera, a @TexasTechFB Ring of Honor member, a #TexasTech Hall of Fame inductee and a @NFFNetwork Hall of Famer.— Texas Tech Red Raiders (@TechAthletics) July 17, 2018
It's with sadness that we learned San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame member Gabriel "Gabe" Rivera passed away. Rivera was inducted in 2005. He was an outstanding high school (Jefferson) & college (Texas Tech) football player & was the #1 draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1983 pic.twitter.com/VV4aSYH9La— San Antonio Sports (@SA_Sports) July 17, 2018
NFF Mourns passing of @TexasTechFB legend & 2012 @cfbhall inductee Gabe Rivera at 57. A 1982 consensus All-American, “Señor Sack” averaged 80 tackles per season as a defensive tackle. First round pick of @steelers, he played 6 NFL games before paralyzing car accident. #Wreckem pic.twitter.com/5uyaNvfk2O— Football Foundation (@NFFNetwork) July 17, 2018
"Señor Sack" May you Rest In Peace. A True TTU LEGEND pic.twitter.com/i14ktwXdch— Manny Ramirez (@Manny63ramirez) July 17, 2018
Gabe Rivera will always be remembered as one of the greatest Texas Tech football players of all-time. Rest in peace, Señor Sack pic.twitter.com/gNX8nVHe2D— Robert Duncan (@ChancellorRLD) July 17, 2018