Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Marshall defensive tackle Larry Aaron died today, nearly two months after he was shot in the spine at a New Year’s Eve party. He was 19.

Aaron was at a house in Severn, Md. outside of Baltimore on Jan. 1 when the still-unidentified shooter fired a gun. The football player was reportedly shot while protecting his girlfriend. From the Herald-Dispatch:

There was an altercation close by and as gun shots rang out, Aaron did the only thing he knew to do: protect the people he cared for. Aaron and his girlfriend were standing against a wall and as the shots rang out, he blanketed her with his 6-foot-5, 272-pound frame.

The initial prognosis was that Aaron would be paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, with a bullet lodged in his spine that doctors were afraid to remove because they didn’t want to cause further injury. Aaron was released from the University of Maryland rehab center two weeks ago, and even made an appearance at a basketball game in his honor. However, Marshall coach John “Doc” Holliday alerted his team at a meeting on Wednesday that Aaron’s condition had worsened, and Aaron died from complications the following day.

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Aaron, a redshirt freshman in the 2017 season, played in eight games for Marshall and made 13 total tackles, including one in Marshall’s New Mexico Bowl win to end the year.