SEATTLE -- Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan after walking away from a multimillion-dollar NFL contract to join the Army Rangers.
Tillman played safety for the Arizona Cardinals, but gave up a $3.6 million dollar contract to join the U.S. Army Rangers with his brother after 9/11.
Tillman, who was based at Fort Lewis, was 27. He died in a fierce firefight in Afghanistan.
Friends, family, and colleagues -- many here in Western Washington -- are mourning the death of a man they call a true American hero.
University of Washington defensive coordinator Phil Snow was Pat Tillman's defensive coordinator during his career at Arizona State University.
Snow said he feared something bad would happen to the player who gave up a sports career to join the army.
Snow calls him a "man's man" who was always straightforward.
Snow last saw Tillman in June when Tillman was stationed at Fort Lewis and visited Seattle for a day.
The Seahawks also have a tie to Tillman. General manager Bob Ferguson was general manager for the Arizona Cardinals when the safety was drafted.
Ferguson calls Tillman a "modern day" hero, but just one of the people who have sacrificed their lives for others.
Tillman, who sought no media attention when he enlisted in the Army, was assigned to a ranger's unit at Fort Lewis.
His wife lives in University Place. Friday, she was being comforted by family and others, who expressed their sympathy.