Vanderbilt tight end dies after battle with cancer

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A Vanderbilt University tight end who was battling cancer has passed away. 

21-year-old Turner Cockrell died Thursday after a long battle with cancer. Cockrell was a third-year tight end with the Commodores. 

“My heart is broken for Randy, Noelle, and the Cockrell family, for all of Turner’s teammates, and for all who came in contact with Turner,” Vanderbilt head football coach Derek Mason said. “Turner had a wonderful spirit and fought an incredible fight. He was a Vanderbilt Man through and through, and he will always be remembered here.”

Cockrell was a medicine, health, and society major at Vanderbilt. He was diagnosed with melanoma in his lymph nodes in 2017. 

Despite surgery and treatment that winter, doctors discovered cancer spread to his lungs. 

Coach Mason and the Commodores honored Cockrell much of this season, dedicating most of their season to him. He also sat with Coach Mason’s family in the coaches’ suite during the team’s season opener against MTSU on Sept. 1.  

Cockrell was given the game ball after the game. The team also wore stickers on their helmets with Cockrell’s #82. 

Cockrell is survived by his parents, Randy and Noelle, and two siblings, brother Parker and sister Katheryn.

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