Andy Garcia is paying tribute to the late Sean Taylor, the Washington Redskins player who was gunned down in his Florida home on Monday during a supposed break-in.
The football star was in a relationship with the actor’s niece, Jackie Garcia, with whom he had an 18-month-old daughter, also named Jackie. The night of the crime, the mother hid under the covers with their child while Taylor, 24, went to confront his killer.
In a statement to the Miami Herald, the Cuban-American actor praised the bravery of Taylor, who sacrificed his own life to defend his girlfriend and daughter. “His heroic action on that tragic night saved their life and is a testament to his humanity and courage. His spirit will live forever, in our hearts and through the legacy of his achievements and the family he leaves behind.”
According to People.com, Garcia’s niece met the athlete in high school. They later went to college together at the University of Miami.