AMERICA — Former USC offensive lineman Max Tuerk died on Saturday, June 20 during a hike in the Cleveland National Forest.

The cause of the death is unknown, but reports by 247Sports suggest Tuerk collapsed while hiking with his parents on a favorite trail of theirs. The former Trojan was only 26 years old.

“Max loved his teammates, coaches and school. Max was a loving son and older brother and his passing leaves a giant hole in our hearts. His strength and work ethic is an inspiration to many,” said the Tuerk family in a statement.

Tuerk played the majority of his collegiate career as a guard and center for USC. He was named a Freshman All-American in 2012 and earned First Team All-PAC-12 recognition in 2014 as a junior. His senior season was cut short after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament five games into the season.

Following his collegiate career, Tuerk was taken in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Chargers with the 66th overall selection. He did not make a regular season appearance throughout his time with the Chargers in his first season with the team.

In 2017, Tuerk was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing supplements. He was released by the Chargers in 2017 following his suspension but was picked up by the Arizona Cardinals soon after. He made his only regular season appearance on Christmas Eve that year in a 23-0 victory over the New York Giants. He was released by the Cardinals in April 2018.

“Heartbroken by the loss of Max Tuerk. Incredible person, teammate, and Trojan. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family,” said USC head coach Clay Helton.

Tuerk is from Trabuco Canyon, California and attended Santa Margarita Catholic High School where he won a CIF PAC-5 title and state championship during his senior season.