Fans, students and current players praised former USC linebacker and NFL Pro Bowler Junior Seau, who was found dead Wednesday at his Oceanside home.
"He was an all-around guy; he was great, as you know," said Hayes Pullard, sophomore USC linebacker. "Our coaches talk about how that's what we want to live up to."
Pullard holds the same position as the legendary player, who visited his alma mater recently for their Spring Game at the L.A. Coliseum.
"I'm not wearing number 55, but just being a linebacker and following in his footsteps to be a great one like he is, is kind of a good deal," Pullard said.
In a statement released Wednesday, USC's athletic director called Seau one of the greatest legends in USC football history: "He will always be remembered as the original No. 55."
Officers responded to a medical aid call from a woman who identified herself as Seau's girlfriend at the home of the 43-year-old former Charger at 9:35 a.m. Wednesday, said Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy. Police are investigating the case as a suicide.
She had found Seau in one of the bedrooms of the NFL player's home in the 600 block of South Strand Boulevard with a gunshot wound to the chest.
A handgun was found next to Seau's body however no suicide note was found according to Oceanside police.
"Life-saving efforts were performed, however they were not successful," McCoy said. "This case at this point is being investigated as a suicide."
Seau's mother spoke to reporters briefly just moments after learning she lost her son.
"I'm shocked," she said through tears. "Show your love to my son."
His sister described him as a "loving brother, caring citizen."
"#RIPJuniorSeau You were one of the greatest Trojans of all time!" tweeted USC quarterback Matt Barkley.
Chargers President Dean Spanos called Seau "an icon in our community."
"I can't put into words how I'm feeling right now," said Chargers President Dean Spanos. "I'm shocked and devastated. Junior was my friend. We all lost a friend today. Junior was an icon in our community. He transcended the game. He wasn't just a football player, he was so much more. He was loved by everyone in our family, our organization and throughout the NFL. This is just such a tragic loss. One of the worst things I could ever imagine. My prayers go out to Junior's family. It's heartbreaking."
In October 2010, Seau sustained injuries when his SUV crashed at the bottom of a Carlsbad cliff. Oceanside police arrested Seau on a felony domestic violence charge.
Then, hours after his release from custody, Seau was found behind the wheel of an SUV that had crashed over a cliff onto the beach below.
Seau, born in San Diego, played for the Trojans after an outstanding prep career at Oceanside High School. Seau was selected in the first round of the 1990 NFL draft by the Chargers.
He played in 12 Pro Bowls as a Charger before being acquired by the Miami Dolphins as a free agent in 2003. He announced plans to retire -- or in his words, "graduate" -- in 2006.
"I'm not retiring -- I'm graduating," Seau said during his retirement announcement. "Retirement means you're just going to live on your laurels and surf all day in Oceanside. It's not going to happen."
He was picked up later that year by the New England Patriots before retiring after the 2009 season.
Seau was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. He earned all-America honors in 1989 -- recording 27 tackles -- and appeared in two Rose Bowls.