Clemson Tigers' Bryan Bresee suffers devastating personal loss
Clemson, South Carolina - Clemson's star defensive tackle Bryan Bresee has announced the tragic passing of his beloved sister Ella after a hard-fought battle with brain cancer.
"I want to thank you for bringing happiness to not only me but so many people," he wrote on Instagram on Thursday morning. "I know for a fact heaven has gained a beautiful angel today. Love you forever and always Ella bear."
Last Saturday, 15-year-old Ella was honored during the Furman game in Week 2 of college football.
Clemson players and staff members wore T-shirts with "Ella Strong" embroidered.
Though Bresee's sibling was given a front-row view for the game, she had a setback and returned to a hospital in Washington – closer to the family's Maryland home – before the game began.
Following Clemson's 35-12 victory, the athlete also traveled back to Washington to be closer to his sister.
"There's a lot more important things than football," Swinney said on Wednesday during a Week 3 press conference. "He needs to focus on what he's doing and [if] he's ready to be back and ready to play, hey, we'll be here. But right now, he's right where he needs to be."
Clemson Football mourns with the Bresee family
Tributes from Clemson's community poured in following Ella's passing.
"Our prayers continue to be with the entire Bresee family," Swinney said in a statement. "We are all so appreciative of all of the love and support that has been shown by the Clemson Family and so many others during this time."
"Ella was such a sweet spirit, and her spirit will continue to live on throughout the Bresee family and everyone who had the opportunity to know her. I am stronger today for having experienced Ella's strength and courage," he added.
Clemson's athletic department changed its Twitter bio to #EllaStrong, while the football program shared a heartfelt statement of its own, saying the late Ella will be a continued "source of light" for the team and entire Clemson community.
On Saturday, No. 5 Clemson will host Louisiana Tech with kickoff scheduled for 8:00PM.
Cover photo: Screenshot / Instagram / bryan_bresee