Willie Burden, the father of Georgia Tech center Freddie Burden, died Friday. The former N.C. State football star had been at Piedmont Hospital since February awaiting a heart transplant.
He was 64. Burden had been in need of a transplant due to protein buildup in his heart and congestive heart failure. The Burden family was the subject of an AJC article in November. It detailed about how Freddie, who recently completed his junior season for the Yellow Jackets, visited him daily after practice with his brother Willie Jr., an academic coordinator at Tech, often staying for three hours.
Freddie Burden sent out a tweet Friday reading, “My father is now watching over us from a better place and his struggle is over. Rest easy dad I’ll see you again. Love you so much.”
In his playing days, Burden was the 1973 ACC player of the year and later played several years in the Canadian Football League. He was inducted into the league’s hall of fame in 2001 and the North Carolina sports hall of fame in 2009, as well as the hall of fame for Boys & Girls Club of America in recognition of his work with young people in 2005.
Burden had been an associate professor in sports management at Georgia Southern.
Funeral arrangements were pending Sunday.