June 30, 2010 -- The 2-year-old son of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham drowned in a backyard hot tub in Las Vegas that his father, who is now a minister, used to perform baptisms, authorities said today.
Christian Cunningham died after being found floating in the hot tub, police said.
A woman at Cunningham's house was with several children when she found the boy at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, police said. She pulled the boy from the hot tub and performed CPR. Police said they received a 911 call at 4:45 p.m. Paramedics rushed the child to St. Rose Dominican Hospital, Siena campus, where he died.
A friend of the Cunningham family and a church member told ABCNews.com that more than 100 people gathered to sing, pray and cry Tuesday evening at Cunningham's church and at his home. At the gathering, people also shared stories about Christian.
"We were there for support," said the church member, who asked not to be identified by name. "It's about being a church family and supporting the family. We believe in the resurrection and we believe that his son Christian is going to be OK."
The family friend described Christian as a precocious and happy child.
"He was always active and running around, smiling and giving everybody hugs and jumping on their laps," he told ABCNews.com. "He was so full of life. He was not only the Cunningham child, he was also the church's child. He trusted everybody."
The family friend said people were expected to gather at Cunningham's church today.
"I just can't imagine going through a tragedy like this without having a church family there for you," he said.
Detectives were investigating the incident at the Cunningham house on East Robindale Road, though police believe the drowning was accidental.
"The initial investigation has revealed that it was accidental and not neglect, but it is still an active investigation," police spokeswoman Officer Barbara Morgan told ABCNews.com.
Cunningham, 47, was out of town and on his way home at the time of the drowning.
A former quarterback with the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens , Cunningham became pastor of a church he founded called Remnant Ministries after his NFL career. The church was located near his home and he sometimes performed baptisms in that hot tub.
Cunningham carried Christian onto the field with him last year when he was inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame during a half-time ceremony.
Cunningham is considered the greatest player in the history of the University of Las Vegas, where he still holds the record with 8,020 career passing yards.
His 16-year NFL career included four Pro Bowl selections and he demonstrated how the quarterback could be more mobile position, incorporating the running game into his arsenal.
Cunningham moved to Las Vegas after his 2002 retirement from the pro football. He was drafted in 1985 by Philadelphia, where he remained through the 1995 season. He worked as a television sports analyst for one year before returning to the field as quarterback.
Death of Christian Cunningham Highlights Dangers of Hot Tubs and Pools
He and his wife, Felicity, have three other children: Randall II, Vashti and Grace.
Since 1990, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports more than 800 deaths in whirlppools and hot tubs. About one-fifth of those were drownings of children under age 5.
The agency advises consumers to place a locked safety cover on the spa whenever it is not in use and keep children away unless there is constant adult supervision.
In addition, since 1990, CPSC reports 43 incidents (including 12 deaths), involving hair or clothing being sucked into the suction fitting of a spa, hot tub, or whirlpool, causing the victim's head to be held under water.