Friday, October 8, 2010

Not a good stretch for Carolina fans: Rameses' owner dies

Carolina football wins a couple of games and Dick Baddour indicates that the investigation into wrongdoing might be coming to a close. Just when things start looking up, Will Graves is dismissed from the basketball team and Chancellor Holden Thorp says the investigations may take up to a year to complete. And now this: the owner of Rameses, the Carolina mascot, has died.

Below is the announcement coming from the UNC General Alumni Association, which broke the news.

Rob Hogan, for years a fixture on the Kenan Stadium sidelines as the owner and handler of Carolina's mascot, died early Friday from illness related to a fall on his farm.

Hogan, who was 54, had been hospitalized since Sept. 15, when he fell from his tractor and suffered a hip injury that suddenly became life-threatening. The ninth-generation farmer was harvesting hay and stayed in the field until 11 p.m. When he was stepping down from his tractor, he missed the last step and landed with his full weight on his hip.

By the next morning, he could not move or feel his left leg, wrote his wife, Ann Leonard, in a blog on CaringBridge.org. Doctors at UNC Hospitals diagnosed Hogan with rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which a muscle injury causes tissue to die and release myoglobin, which is toxic to the kidneys. He underwent several surgeries in the last three weeks. The family kept friends apprised of his condition daily.

In Hogan's absence, Rameses XVIII has missed the Tar Heels' first two home football games. Other family members had been planning to bring Rameses to the Clemson game on Saturday.

“We’re hoping they can bring him back out as soon as they’re ready to,” said Rick Steinbacher ’93, an associate athletics director. “We will welcome them with open arms, but it’s not a rush.”

The Hogan family has cared for the Tar Heel mascot since 1924.

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