Bears Linebacker Brian Urlacher Mourns Passing of His Mother

Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears
Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears rests on the bench during a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Soldier Field on Sept. 11, 2011 in Chicago. Photographer: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher has left the team following the death of his mother, who he once called “my heart.”

Lavoyda Urlacher died unexpectedly two days ago at her home in Texas, the linebacker said in an e-mailed statement. He didn’t address his status for the Bears’ Sept. 18 game against the New Orleans Saints, nor did he list his mother’s age or details of her death.

“My first priority right now is to be with my family as we mourn her loss and make the arrangement to lay her to rest,” Urlacher said. “This is a very difficult and emotional time for us and I sincerely ask that you respect our privacy.”

Urlacher, 33, left the National Football League team yesterday, the Chicago Tribune reported.

A seven-time Pro Bowl selection, Urlacher was named the National Football Conference Defensive Player of the Week today. He had 10 tackles, an interception and a fumble return for a touchdown in the Bears’ season-opening 30-12 victory over the Atlanta Falcons last week.

“My mom is my heart,” Urlacher told ESPN Magazine in 2002.

Lavoyda married Brad Urlacher, Brian’s father, at age 16 and had all three of her children before the age of 19, according to the Tribune. She and Brad divorced at age 25 and she raised her children -- Brian, Sheri and Casey -- in Lovington, New Mexico. She was living in Mount Pleasant, Texas, when she died, the Tribune said.

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