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Player who inspired 'Kuykenstrong' dies at age 32

Wednesday - 3/12/2014, 3:33pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former D.C. United midfielder Shawn Kuykendall has died from a rare form of cancer at the age of 32.

United and MLS announced that Kuykendall died early Wednesday from thymic cancer.

After Kuykendall's diagnosis last year, the soccer community rallied around him with the phrase "Kuykenstrong." U.S. national team and MLS players began wearing "Kuykenstrong" T-shirts at games and other events. United players wore the T-shirts during warm-ups at their season opener last week.

Kuykendall was born in the D.C. suburbs and played at American University before joining United in 2005.

He appeared in two regular season games and was traded to the New York Red Bulls in 2006, but a knee injury ended his playing career. He then went into coaching and youth player development in the D.C. area.


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