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Francis Perron
The University of Ottawa will hold a memorial ceremony for Perron in the coming weeks. Photo: Greg Mason/ U of O varsity athletics
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Francis Perron was a beloved member of the U of O community

Francis Perron, a defensive tackle on the Gee-Gees football team, has passed away, confirmed the University of Ottawa’s varsity athletics department in an email. 

“We are devastated by the tragic news of Francis’ passing,” said Sue Hylland, director of varsity athletics for the University of Ottawa. “Francis exemplified everything it means to be a Gee-Gees student-athlete and representative of our sports community at uOttawa. We have ensured that our football program, as well as all Gee-Gees athletes and staff have support resources available to them throughout this difficult time.”

Hylland made sure in her statement on the matter to thank all who did absolutely everything they could to help Perron.

“We are very grateful for the therapy staff, first responders, nurses, doctors, and everyone on-site at the University of Toronto that did absolutely everything they could to help Francis. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Francis’ loved ones, teammates, and everyone he touched,” said Hylland.

According to an email from U of O president and vice-chancellor Jacques Frémont, Perron died shortly after Saturday’s game between the Gee-Gees and University of Toronto Varsity Blues. 

Perron, who was in his fifth season with the Gee-Gees team, was studying mechanical engineering at the U of O. Originally from Sherbrooke, QC, Perron first joined the Gee-Gees in 2017 after a stellar career at Cégep de Sherbrooke

Frémont sent his condolences to all members of the Gee-Gees community, as well as members of the faculty of engineering. 

”Let me just say to you: Our thoughts are with you in your grief, which we share. Rest assured you have our compassion, solidarity and support. We have mobilized our support services and you can count on ongoing assistance over the coming days and weeks,” wrote the U of O president in a message to the community.

Perron’s head coach with the Gee-Gees, Marcel Bellefeuille, highlighted how much Perron meant to the team. 

“Our hearts are broken. In losing Francis, we’ve lost an outstanding person, teammate, player, and veteran leader that made us better in every way possible.”

“He was someone that loved and was loved by everyone that is a part of our program. We are pulling together as a family and giving everyone the best support possible as we navigate this very difficult situation. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones during this unimaginable time.”

Frémont signed off his message to the U of O community by asking those impacted by Perron’s loss to not hesitate to seek help.

“If you have been touched by this loss in any way — whether you are a student, professor or employee — I encourage you to seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed or need emotional support.”

The University of Ottawa will hold a memorial ceremony for Perron in the coming weeks. Details are forthcoming, and will be communicated by the U of O in accordance with the family’s wishes.