Nazareth Academy

Cause of death revealed for Chicago native, UNLV football player Ryan Keeler

Keeler had just completed his freshman season as a defensive lineman for the Rebels


Oct 22, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; A UNLV helmet sits on the field during the game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the UNLV Rebels at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

A cause of death has been announced for Ryan Keeler, the 20-year-old Nazareth Academy alumnus who died in Las Vegas last February. According to the coroner, Keeler died of heart complications, including cardiac dysrhythmia.

Keeler played football at Nazareth Academy and began his college career at Rutgers. He transferred to UNLV in 2021.

"We are devastated by the loss of a member of the Nazareth Family, especially someone so young," said Tim Racki, Nazareth Academy dean of students and head football coach, in a statement provided to NBC Chicago in February. "Ryan was a valued member of the Football program. Aside from his incredible talents as a fierce competitor on the field, Ryan was a selfless leader who consistently encouraged his teammates with love, humor and compassion. More importantly, he was an incredible mentor to many of our younger players and left  a legacy that is still felt to this today.

"We have been touched by the outpouring of love from our Nazareth community. We are holding the entire Keeler Family in our prayers right now."

At the time of his death, Keeler had just completed his freshman season as a defensive lineman with the Rebels, and recorded eight tackles and one sack in seven games. He had a 3.80 GPA as a pre-business student, which earned him Academic All-Mountain West honors.

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