By Ken Ritter
ABOVE PHOTO: Former Philadelphia Eagles football player Randall Cunningham holds his son, Christian, during halftime of an NFL football game, in Philadelphia in Sept. 2009. The 2-year-old son of former NFL star quarterback Randall Cunningham has died in what authorities on Wednesday, June 30, 2010, called an apparent backyard hot tub accident, in Las Vegas. The Clark County coroner’s office identified the child as Christian Cunningham, and said the cause of death was pending.
(AP Photo/Michael Perez)
LAS VEGAS—The 2-year-old son of former NFL star quarterback Randall Cunningham has died in what authorities on Wednesday called an apparent backyard hot tub accident.
The Clark County coroner’s office identified the child as Christian Cunningham, and said the cause of death was pending.
Las Vegas police Officer Marcus Martin, a department spokesman, said the death appeared to have been an accidental drowning, but authorities were still investigating.
Cunningham, 47, is an ordained minister and pastor of a church six blocks off Las Vegas Boulevard that he runs with his wife, Felicity. Christian Cunningham was the youngest of their four children.
Messages left by The Associated Press for the family at the church and Cunningham’s house were not immediately returned Wednesday. A church official said Wednesday there were no immediate plans for a memorial service.
A man who described himself as a family friend at the gate of the two-story five-bedroom stucco home told an AP reporter the family was declining immediate comment.
Cunningham was out of town Tuesday, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which first reported the boy’s death.
Martin said police were called late Tuesday afternoon to Cunningham’s home in southeast Las Vegas after an adult at the house with several other children found the boy in the hot tub and began trying to resuscitate him.
The child was pronounced dead less than an hour later at St. Rose Dominican Hospital Siena campus in nearby Henderson, Nev.
Cunningham, a fleet-footed quarterback, played for 16 years in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens. He was a Pro Bowl pick four times. He also starred at UNLV.
Cunningham retired in 2002 as the career leader in rushing yards among NFL quarterbacks with 4,928. The Eagles last year added him to the team’s honor roll. He took his son onto the field last year when he was inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame at a halftime ceremony.
He returned to UNLV and earned his bachelor’s degree in 2004 in leisure studies. He said at the time he wanted to set a good example for his children.
Cunningham and his wife, Felicity, have three other children: Randall II, Vashti and Grace.