Tale of Notre Dame Football Star's Girlfriend and Her Death an Alleged Hoax

Dan Harris explains the story how the story resonated and how it unraveled.
2:13 | 01/16/13

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Transcript for Tale of Notre Dame Football Star's Girlfriend and Her Death an Alleged Hoax
This evening, a huge story caught everyone by surprise. A love story that led to a kind of sensational hoax. The star athlete for the notre dame football team riveted the nagts with his inspiring story of a girlfriend who had died of leukemia, right before a crucial game. It turned out that girl apparently never existed. Abc's dan harris explains the incredible tale of fame and deception. Reporter: It was one of the most dramatic and emotional stories in recent sports history. Manti te'o, the star linebacker for notre dame, enduring the death of both his grandmother and then his girlfriend within just six hours. You tak love of my life. Last thing she said to me was, "i love you." Reporter: He went on to lead his team to a series of epic victories. He was a finalist for the heisman trophy. All along, he spoke freely about his twin tragedy. Older brother called me and he was just crying and crying and crying and that's when i kind of knew, but I was still in denial. Reporter: But tonight, word that that girlfriend never existed at all. The story, first reported on the sports news website deadspin, says she was a hoax, and the picture we all saw was of another woman who is very much alive and says she doesn't know taio at all. Late today, notre dame released a statement that coaches were informed by taio and his parents that the star had been a victim of what appears to be a hoax. The college says someone using the name apparently ingratiated herself with manti and conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia. The question -- was this a case of cat fishing? A term based on a documentary about a young man who is fooled into an online romance with a woman pretending to be somebody else. Teo issued a statement to espn, saying he developed what he thought was an youauthentic, emotional relationship with a woman he met on the internet and they computed online and on the phone. He calls this entire episode incredibly embarrassing. That's a direct quote. And he says he hopes others can learn from it. Twists and turns of a modern world. Thank you, dan harris.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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