Friends were in the process of seeking help for transportation and burial expenses. A Go Fund Me page has been established.
Tate is survived by his girlfriend, Kelli Edwards of St. Petersburg; his mother, Betty Tate of Jonesboro; and three children: Stephan Tate, Lauren Tate and Donovan Tate; and some sisters and brothers.
Donovan Tate also was a great athlete growing up in Georgia, excelling in football and baseball at Cartersville High. He was drafted third overall in the 2009 MLB draft and played quarterback at Arizona after his baseball career ended.
Lars Tate was the Gatorade National Offensive Player of the Year when he signed with Georgia out of North Central High in Indianapolis in 1984. Tate left Georgia in 1987 with 3,017 career rushing yards, which still stands sixth on the Bulldogs’ all-time list.
Tate was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1988 and played three seasons in the NFL. He owns one of the Bucs’ all-time great highlights from his rookie season, when he was flipped at the line of scrimmage, landed on his feet and then ran the rest of the way for a 46-yard touchdown.
Sims said Tate had some personal struggles after his football career ended, but added that he celebrated three years of sobriety in February.
“He had gotten his life together, and (his girlfriend) Kelli has been an absolute godsend,” Sims said. “We are all so shocked and heartbroken.”