DALLAS, Texas - Luke Laufenberg, the son of former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Babe Laufenberg and a tight end at UTEP, has died after a nearly two-year battle with cancer. He was 21.
The elder Laufenberg posted on social media on Thursday, writing "we lost a son, a brother, a friend, and a warrior. Have never seen a person battle like Luke Laufenberg, but he lost his fight with cancer."
A former walk-on at Texas A&M, Luke Laufenberg played at Mesa Community College before getting diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma after his only season at the junior college in 2017. He was declared cancer-free in May 2018 before experiencing further complications this past spring. As a result, Luke Laufenberg never got a chance to play for the Miners.
"Luke Laufenberg touched our hearts and souls forever. His spirit and fight are reminders of what it means to play and coach the game of football. He was a fighter, a champion and a wonderful person," said UTEP head football coach Dana Dimel.
"He was a very talented young man that lived his life and left a huge mark on everyone he came in contact with. He was a wonderful individual and will not be forgotten on our football team," Dimel continued. "Our student-athletes learned from how he prepared himself and the way he handled adversity. I know Luke loved playing football for UTEP and he will forever be a Miner!"
Babe Laufenberg started six games for San Diego in 1988 before going to the Cowboys. He was Troy Aikman's backup in 1990, getting most of his playing time in the final two games when Aikman was injured. Babe Laufenberg went on to a successful TV and radio career in Dallas.
An emotional Cowboys coach Jason Garrett cut short his daily meeting with reporters not long after learning of Luke Laufenberg's death. Fighting back tears, Garrett said, "Whatever was going on, he just had this way, this strength, unlike I've ever seen."
Luke Laufenberg attended Jesuit High School in Dallas before spending his senior year at a small suburban private school.
Today we lost a son, a brother, a friend, and a warrior. Have never seen a person battle like Luke Laufenberg, but he lost his fight with cancer. He was truly inspirational. The hole in our hearts will never be filled. You are my hero. RIP my sweet Luke. See you on the other side.