Former Rattler Johnie Kirton passes away - CBS 5 - KPHO

Former Rattler Johnie Kirton passes away

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Johnie Kirton Johnie Kirton
MESA, AZ (CBS5) -

Former Arizona Rattler Johnie Kirton has passed away.

Kirton, who was recently traded from Arizona to San Jose, was found dead in his San Jose home on Sunday. He was 26 years old.

Kirton began the season with the Rattlers after a record-breaking year in Chicago with the Rush in 2011. He played on both sides of the ball and was an AFL Ironman of the Year Finalist in 2011.

Kirton was also known for spending time volunteering with local children. He spent time at five different Kyrene schools as an employee of the after-school program Road Crew, where he taught life skills to elementary school students. He combined his knowledge of the game with his life experiences. Kirton was seen as a celebrity figure in the eyes of the kids. He grew up the oldest of nine children and was a natural leader with the ability to relate to kids.

Kirton attended the University of Washington before he was drafted by the Rattlers in 2010.

"We are in shock around here," said Rattlers head coach Kevin Guy. "Johnie was a great young man that had a lot to offer, it's always difficult in times like these. Our collective prayers are with Johnie's family."

Kirton leaves behind a 2-year-old daughter, the mother of his child and extended family members across the country.

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