Former Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams died on Friday, the university announced. He was 71.

According to the Tennessean, Williams collapsed at Pancake Pantry, a restaurant near campus, at approximately 10:30 a.m. CT on Friday. He later died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, according to published reports.

"(Williams) came in for breakfast, and he was with family and friends, or to my knowledge it was family and friends," Pancake Pantry owner Crosby Keltner told the Tennessean. "They had not ordered yet, and he seemed to have some complications. The family and surrounding tables realized something wasn't right.

"My manager at the time called 911, as well as one of the guests. We got him out of here pretty fast. I think the ambulance was here in 3 or 4 minutes."

Williams had recently retired after 16 years as Vanderbilt's athletic director. His last day on the job was Jan. 31.

Williams was the first black athletic director in Southeastern Conference history.

"David Williams stood tall on this campus, in this city and in college athletics nationally as an incomparable leader, role model and dear friend to me and so many others. We are devastated by this loss," Vanderbilt chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said in a statement. "His impact on our community is immeasurable and will be felt for generations to come. We offer our deepest condolences to Gail, his children and the entire Williams family on this immense loss."

Williams spent 16 years as athletic director. He was replaced by Malcolm Turner, who began his duties on Feb. 1.

"The Vanderbilt family is saddened to learn of the passing of David Williams," Turner said in a statement. "David authored a remarkable legacy at Vanderbilt, one defined by blazing trails and championing the student-athlete. In my short time at Vanderbilt, I was fortunate to have cultivated a friendship with David, who most proudly coveted his role as a husband and father.

"All of Commodore Nation mourns the loss of David, and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Gail, his four children, his six grandchildren and his great-grandson."

A retirement party had been scheduled for Friday night to honor Williams.

--Field Level Media

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