"She and I, man, we had this relationship where it was just amazing," Te'o told Thamel. "With all of that time on her hands in the hospital, she was never thinking about herself and what was hurting her. She was just always thinking about others. She went on and wrote a letter to me before every game. Things that she would want me to know."
Kekua and her family were also in frequent contact with Te'o's family and friends.
Te'o's father Brian Te'o told Themel that he had received a condolence text message from Kekua after his mother died. They also spoke on the phone "at length" and Brian Te'o also spoke to Kekua's brothers after her death.
Dalton Hilliard, a close friend of Te'o's from Punahou High in Honolulu who now plays football for UCLA, told Thamel that he was often in touch with Kekua.
"She was a very supportive, loving passionate individual," Hilliard told the writer. "She was all about God and prayer and being able to have faith. Me and her never met in person. But I felt like this was a testament to who she was. She would still text and tweet me before my games."
When Kekua "died" in September 2012, the news came from her brother who texted Te'o from Kekua's phone number, he told Thamel. The brother then called Te'o to deliver the news.
"He was just crying and crying and crying," Te'o said. "I just had to calm him down. I was like, 'You have to speak clearly. I need to know what's going on.' That's when he told me, 'Lala is gone.' That's what they call her. They call her Lala."
"Catfish" movie director and actor Ariel Schulman told "Good Morning America" today that he believes there may have been "a few other people duped by the fake Lennay character."
Te'o has kept a low-profile since the news of the scandal broke. He released a statement calling the situation "incredibly embarrassing" and maintaining that he was the victim of a horrible hoax.