Another young person has passed away unexpectedly, continuing a disturbing trend globally. Reports have confirmed that former University of Georgia star tennis player Lilly Kimbell died Sunday at the age of 31.
Her sister Samantha Giles revealed via Facebook that Kimbell suffered a massive heart attack emanating from a kidney issue.
The cause of Kimbell’s kidney issue is unknown at this time. An official cause of death has not been determined either.
Giles went on to post a poignant tribute to Lilly’s life:
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I’ve looked up to you my whole life. You were so talented and loved by so many. When people asked me who my favorite tennis player was my answer was always you. I was so proud of you and your accomplishments
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.
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. I promise we will try to be better people in your honor.
The Clayton News-Daily has more:
“We were stunned and heartbroken to learn of Lilly passing away,” said Georgia head 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.”
A native of New Braunfels, Texas and member of the 2011-2014 tennis squads, Kimbell registered 197 combined wins – 109 doubles and 88 singles. Kimbell was a part of the 2014 SEC Tournament Championship team that finished 24-5, as well as the 2013 squad that went 24-4 and claimed the SEC Championship. She was a part of four teams that advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals. Kimbell was named to the SEC All-Tournament team in 2012 and 2014. As a senior, Kimbell went 30-8 in singles and was tabbed the ITA Regional Most improved Senior of the Year. As a freshman, Kimbell won the 2011 ITA Southeast Regional Doubles Championship with Chelsey Gullickson.
She holds the record for most consecutive doubles wins in a season – 22 with Kowase in 2012, ranks fourth in career doubles victories with a 109-31 record and ranks seventh in doubles wins in a season with a 32-5 record in 2012.
Kimbell earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Science in 2014 and a masters in Sport Management in 2016, while working for the athletic department. Following her Bulldogs career, Kimbell served as an assistant tennis coach at Eastern Illinois, as well as, St. Mary’s in San Antonio. She also worked for the Addison Group, Supreme Lending and Paycom – all headquartered in the Dallas area.