Julius Campbell Jr., a former Virginia high school football star depicted in the movie "Remember the Titans," has died. He was 65.
Campbell died Jan. 25 of organ failure, The Washington Post reported . Cathy Campbell confirmed her husband's death to the newspaper, calling him a "kind, compassionate human being."
After Alexandria high schools integrated, upperclassmen attended T. C. Williams High School in 1971. The movie portrayed the Titans' success that season amid the city's racial tensions, as they won the Virginia AAA state championship.
"Julius was very, very instrumental on that team at simply getting kids to just talk to one another, kids who never talked to kids from another race their entire lives," said Herman Boone, the Titans' coach from 1971 to 1979. "By doing so, they learned many things about each other that were not passed down to them and for that, the world owes Julius a debt of gratitude."
Campbell talked to fellow teammates about how they could come together, taking it upon himself to "rebuild race relations," Boone said.
"It was Julius who came up with the saying that our team is a team of one group of people with 'one vision.' And in order to win we must have 'one heartbeat,'" he said.
Campbell went to Ferrum Junior College with plans to transfer to a major program, but his athletic career was ended by an ankle injury that never properly healed, and he returned to Alexandria to care for his aging father.
He worked for animal control departments in Alexandria and Prince George's County, Maryland. Later, Campbell spoke about the team's journey to overcome racial barriers and about bullying, but health problems forced him to stop.