Irish icon Gipp's body exhumed for DNA sample

Updated: October 11, 2007, 8:40 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The body of George Gipp was exhumed from a Michigan cemetery on Oct. 4, to follow up on a claim by two people that they may be related to the Notre Dame legend. A DNA sample was taken, and Gipp was reburied on the same day.

An All-American football player for the Irish, Gipp died of complications from pneumonia in 1920. Rick Frueh, whose grandmother was one of Gipp's sisters, and who authorized the exhumation said Thursday in a statement, "The disinterment of the body of George Gipp is of personal and private interest to our family. Please respect our wishes to keep this matter private."

ESPN cameras were present at the exhumation, and E:60, the network's new magazine show, will chronicle the story in the coming weeks.

Gipp is still regarded as one of college football's all-time greats and held the Notre Dame career rushing record for more than 50 years. But he may be best known for the deathbed request that coach Knute Rockne used years later, inspiring the Irish to "Win one for the Gipper."

The phrase became associated with Ronald Reagan, who portrayed Gipp in the 1940 movie "Knute Rockne, All American."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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