The family of former Gilbert Highland standout Marquis Cooper says they have decided to discontinue their search for the 26-year-old man and two friends still missing in the Gulf of Mexico.
In a statement released Friday, Bruce Cooper said his family is beginning the healing process, and needs time to be together and remember his son. Cooper described his son as a great father and husband.
Marquis Cooper, a linebacker for the Oakland Raiders, was aboard a 21-foot fishing boat last Saturday evening when it capsized in rough seas. Only former University of South Florida player Nick Schuyler was found alive.
The Coast Guard called off its search on Tuesday, but the Cooper family had remained optimistic, enlisting private pilots and charter boats on Wednesday to continue searching for Marquis Cooper.
In his statement, Bruce Cooper said the family received new information Thursday that led them to discontinue the search. He thanked people in Arizona, Tampa and all over the United States for their thoughts, prayers and efforts.
“We especially want to thank the members of the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Air Force, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife agency for their extraordinary and courageous efforts to rescue Marquis and his friends,” his statement said. “We are beginning the process of healing. We are staying prayerful. One day the pain will be a little less burdensome. Right now, we just need time to be together and remember Marquis.”
Cooper, a prominent sportscaster for KPNX-TV (Channel 12) in Phoenix, also said the family has decided not to have a memorial or prayer service for his son, and instead requested that people “memorialize Marquis in your hearts and thoughts.
“Marquis was a great father and husband and a great provider for his family. His daughter and wife Rebekah will be OK; they just need time to heal.”