Sad news to pass along today. Former Ohio State Mike Kudla has passed away. He was 34. The cause was not revealed.

“Mike Kudla was a special young man,” former Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel said in a release. “His love of family, OSU and country was so strong. Our heart aches for the Kudla family, his friends, teammates, and entire Buckeye Nation.”

Kudla, a star defensive end who played on the 2002 OSU team which won a national championship, was named first-team All-Big Ten and Ohio State’s most valuable player on defense in 2005. He recorded 91 tackles and 14.5 sacks in his college career. Three of those sacks in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame, the final game of Kudla’s career.

Kudla signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006 as an undrafted free agent, but suffered a career-ending hamstring injury. He returned to OSU in 2012 to be managing director of development for the university’s business school.