SANTA CLARA – On Sunday, Dr. Dan Garza was on the 49ers’ sideline at Candlestick Park as the team’s medical director.
Two days later, he died at his home. He was 43.
[MAIOCCO: 49ers medical director Garza passes away]
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was among those associated with the 49ers who expressed sadness upon learning of Garza’s death. The cause of death remains unknown.
“I was shocked and devastated,” Fangio said Thursday. “I knew him very well. I’ve been around that high-level football for over 30 years and you get to meet a lot of the top doctors in those areas where you’re at and he was at the top of the list there. He was just tremendous. He was an A-plus doctor.
“He was a friend of everybody in this organization and had time for everybody. I know I needed him for a couple things off the field. One time, I was away on vacation and came down sick and called him up and it was like I was right there. He was a tremendous individual, a tremendous doctor and somebody that we’re going to really miss.”
Garza was assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery and emergency medicine at the Stanford School of Medicine. He was one of the nation’s leading concussion researchers. Garza joined the 49ers in 2007, according to Stanford, the same year linebacker Patrick Willis was chosen in the first round.
“I’ve known Dr. Garza since I’ve been here,” Willis said. “He’s always been an amazing guy to me, my family. We’re going to miss him.”