The Oregon Ducks are mourning the tragic death of talented tight-end Spencer Webb. Authorities suspect that Webb slipped and struck his head on rock slides at a swimming lake near Eugene, Oregon. Spencer fell about 100 yards while climbing rocks.

“[Webb] was climbing a rock formation or face and slipped. He hit his head [and] fell into the water,” Sgt. Tom Speldrich said. Bystanders and paramedics found him unresponsive and were unable to revive him. 

Spencer’s biological parents deserted him when he was young

Spencer Webb was born in 2000 and grew up in Sacramento, California. Webb had a tough upbringing as his parents deserted him when he was young. 

Webb was initially raised by his grandfather, Donald ‘Spido’ Webb, before he passed away when Webb was five. “My grandfather was a competitor, tried to do the best he could, helped people, cared about people, and I think I’m like him,” Spencer said, per The Sacramento Bee

After Donald’s passing, Spencer lived with his aunts, uncles, and family friends. The challenging situation forced him to mature faster than his peers. 

Spencer would see his father every so often but didn’t have his mother in his life at all. He said:

“I never really had a mom or dad in my life. They chose to do other things, bad things, so it’s been me and my brother. I had a dream, he had a dream and we’re making that dream happen. It doesn’t really bother me now not knowing my mom. She missed out.”

Webb’s brother and his wife became his adoptive parents

After moving around for several years, Spencer settled with his older brother, Cody Webb, and his wife, Alicia. Given his lack of guidance, Spencer ran into mischief.

Cody cut Webb no slack, informing him that he could only play football if he changed his ways. The older Webb said, per ABC 10:

“I kind of lost a brother, so to speak, and gained a son, which is awesome. I tell everyone that I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I wanted him to do it under my supervision, so I knew at least everything was done in his favor.”

It wasn’t easy for the trio to adapt to the unconventional living arrangement. However, as time went by, they found ways to thrive. Spencer’s success on the pitch made Cody and Alicia’s sacrifice worth it. Cody said:

“I’m definitely proud of him. Just to see how far he’s come from, the adversity he’s overcome, wow. He muscled through a lot. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. He’s drinking the water. He’s reaping the benefits. A lot of kids from broken homes as kids don;t have a place of Peace. Spencer does.”

Spencer said he informed his biological father of the elevated role Cody had assumed in his life. “I tell him [biological dad] I love him, but he understands the role my brother has in my life, that my brother is my everything,” Spencer said. 

“At only a very young age you guys have become the greatest parents ever,” Spencer tweeted in September 2017 alongside photos of Cody and Alicia. “I love you guys.”