Former University of Southern California running back Charles White, the 1979 Heisman Trophy winner and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, died Wednesday (January 11) at the age of 64, his alma mater, according to a USC Trojans news release.
USC confirmed that White died in Newport Beach following a battle with cancer.
White was the third of eight Trojan players to win the Heisman Trophy* and holds the school record for career rushing yards with 6,245 -- which ranks second in NCAA history -- while also second in rushing touchdowns (49) behind only LenDale White (52).
"Charles White was one of the all-time great Trojans," said USC athletic director Mike Bohn. "A Rose Bowl legend, a two-time unanimous All-American and a NCAA record setter, he made USC proud donning the Cardinal and Gold. He will always be remembered by the Trojan Family for the history he made on the football field and the legacy he left at Troy. Fight On Forever!"
White was selected by the Cleveland Browns at No. 27 overall in the 1980 NFL Draft and spent five seasons with the franchise before being released in 1985.
He then signed with the hometown Los Angeles Rams, reuniting with head coach John Robinson, who had previously worked as White's head coach at USC.
White had his best NFL season in 1987, leading the league in rushing yards (1,374) and touchdowns (11), winning the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award and being selected as both a first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler.
"He was the toughest player I've ever coached," Robinson said. "He was really unusual in that regard. He was a great player and just loved playing the game. Those are the things I remember the most. He was a really tough guy, and he was an extremely gifted athlete. But the toughness…wow!"
White is survived by his ex-wife Judianne White-Basch their five children and granddaughter, according to USC.
*The NCAA recognizes seven USC Heisman Trophy winners after Reggie Bush's 2005 Heisman Trophy was vacated following severe sanctions to the program in 2010.