ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Former NFL player and community booster, Demetrious Johnson, passed away at 61 years old today. Family friend and NFL agent Reggie Blackwell confirmed the news to FOX 2.

The former pro-football player had been in the hospital for the past week. We don’t know the cause of death at this time.

Johnson played defensive back at Mizzou in the early 80’s and then in the NFL for five seasons with the Detroit Lions, before settling back in St. Louis.

For more than three decades, his Demetrious Johnson Foundation has served the community. They handed out turkeys for those in need right before Thanksgiving.

James Clark worked with Johnson on collaborations with Johnson’s foundation and the Urban League. Clark says Johnson’s legacy and life of service will live on.

“Demetrious came from the neighborhood, he came from the housing projects. And when he made it out he knew that he had to get back to make a path, not too many people do that,” said James Clark.

He also had a major toy drive every year, as well as back-to-school giveaways. He was a victim’s advocate and helped tutor and get young kids on their feet.

“He understood that God blessed him with a platform. He used that platform to advocate for those who needed the help the most,” said James Clark.

Johnson remained involved with Mizzou football over the years, and recently had been helping star recruit Luther Burden raise money for his name, image, and likeness campaign.