This stunning news comes just three days after Sparano was complaining about chest pains. He ended up going to the hospital on Thursday, according to ESPN reports. He underwent tests in that visit and was released on Friday morning.
The former head coach had just reunited with Mike Zimmer in Minnesota after the two worked together under Bill Parcells with the Dallas Cowboys from 2003 to 2006. He worked with nine organizations in his 19 NFL seasons, and finished with a 32-41 record as a head coach. His lone playoff appearance came with the Miami Dolphins in 2008, as they won the AFC East Division with an 11-5 record in his first year with the team. He was the first coach to take a team to the playoffs just one year after a one-win season. That was also the only season in the past 15 years that the New England Patriots haven't won the AFC East.
Sparano was with the Vikings as an assistant for the past two seasons, and also had gigs with the Redskins, Browns, Jaguars, 49ers, and Jets. He did take over as head coach of the Oakland Raiders on an interim basis in 2014.
Vikings players took to Twitter to remember their offensive coordinator, including Kyle Rudolph and Teddy Bridgewater. Derek Carr also chimed in and gave plenty of credit to Sparano by saying "coach believed in me, trusted me, and stuck with me as a rookie," and added "I love you, coach!"
With just under a week before teams report for training camp and less than a month before preseason begins, this is a tough blow for the entire NFL.