BY John McCann, The Western JournalFebruary 8, 2023
1 year ago
 | February 8, 2023
1 year ago

Heartbreak as Former College Tennis Player Dies from Massive Heart Attack: 'Heaven Gained Another Angel'

Family members have been left stunned and devastated after a 31-year-old former college tennis star passed away from a sudden heart attack.

Lilly Kimbell, a 2014 graduate of the University of Georgia, died on Sunday after a massive heart attack cut off the oxygen to her brain for an extended period.

According to Clayton News Daily, Kimbell's family was forced to make the heart-wrenching decision to take her off life support.

Family, friends, and former coaches were quick to offer their condolences in the wake of this unimaginable tragedy.

“We were stunned and heartbroken to learn of Lilly passing away,” lamented Georgia women's tennis coach Jeff Wallace.

“I will always remember how she helped create a culture of excellence with her attitude and work ethic. Lilly was a fantastic teammate and was always smiling and laughing during practice and matches.

"She ranks as one of the most successful doubles players in Georgia tennis history. During the spring of her sophomore year, she went undefeated in doubles with Maho (Kowase), and their 22-match winning streak is still a school record. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family,” Wallace continued.

As mentioned by Wallace, Kimbell enjoyed quite a college tennis career.

The Texas native registered 197 wins, in both solo and doubles competitions and was an SEC All-Tournament team member in 2012 and 2014, as reported by Clayton News.

Kimbell's heart attack has been linked to a kidney condition that she and her family seemed unaware of, making a passing a tragic surprise.

In a heartfelt Facebook post, Kimbell's sister Samantha Gillas paid homage to her sibling and what she meant to her.

"Yesterday heaven gained another angel," Gillas began.

"I really don’t know what to say. I am lost for words and in complete shock, but at the same time I have so much I could say. It all seems so surreal and I’m just waiting to wake up from this bad dream and I’ll see you coming downstairs."

"Besides what you did on the court I looked up to you as a person. You had this ability to make everyone smile. Whenever we walked into the room you would be surrounded by people laughing and smiling. Everyone seemed to gravitate towards you," Gillas remembered fondly.

"I’m still trying to process why God had this happen to you at 31 years old. I shouldn’t had to say goodbye to my sister at 22 years old. I love you so much Lilly. I know you’re looking down at us watching over."

"You were so talented and loved by so many."

CORRECTION, Feb. 9, 2023: Jeff Wallace is the women's tennis coach at the University of Georgia. An earlier version of this article named a different school.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: John McCann, The Western Journal



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