(Photo: Facebook/John Servati)
John Servati, a 21-year-old University of Alabama student-athlete who was a member of the school's swimming and diving team, is being hailed as a hero by friends, family and well-wishers after he died Monday saving the life of his girlfriend during a storm that swept through Tuscaloosa.
"UA student-athlete, John Servati, has died after saving his girlfriend from a collapsing wall in the severe weather," noted the Twitter account BamaPrideNation in a tweet Tuesday.
That message was followed by a screen shot from the Instagram account of Denny Chimes, which gave more details on what happened to the swimmer.
"Rest in peace, John Servati. John was a member of Alabama's swimming team and was killed early this morning from the storms. He and his girlfriend were seeking shelter from the tornadoes when a cement wall collapsed on them. He shoved her out of the way as the wall fell on him. There is no greater love than sacrifice. Thank you for everything you did, John. Rest in peace," said the message.
A report from the university said Servati succumbed to his injuries Monday night at DCH Regional Medical Center.
"John Servati was an extraordinary young man of great character and warmth who had a tremendously giving spirit," said UA head coach Dennis Pursley. "During this incredibly difficult time, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to all who had the good fortune to know him. He will forever be in our hearts and a part of the Crimson Tide legacy."
Servati, who hails from Tupelo, Mississippi, was a business major and a three-time member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll, according to the report. He was also a scorer at the SEC Championships.
"John definitely had a genuine heart," Alabama team captain Phillip Deaton noted. "He was a carefree guy who always had this huge smile on his face. He was my training partner for three years and I can tell you that, while he liked to goof around and have fun, when he stepped up on the block he was intensely focused. He was a competitor and an amazing teammate. As a team, we are doing the best we can right now."
"We are all saddened to learn of the untimely death of John Servati," said UA Director of Athletics Bill Battle. "He was a model student-athlete who excelled in his sport of swimming, his pursuit of excellence in academics, and his value as a son, brother, friend and teammate to all who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to John's family and friends as we grieve his passing."