CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Former West Virginia University head football coach Bill Stewart died Monday after suffering a heart attack during a charity golf event.
Stewart, 59, was participating in the West Virginia Hospitality and Tourism Association's annual tournament along with former WVU Athletic Director Ed Pastilong at Stonewall Jackson Resort in Weston.
He collapsed on the golf course about 2 p.m.
In an interview on the MetroNews Sportsline radio show Monday evening, Pastilong said Stewart collapsed suddenly in the middle of telling a story about one of his old bosses, former Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry.
"It was one of those huge, massive heart attacks," Pastilong told MetroNews. "It was over."
Another golfer began performing CPR on Stewart almost immediately and continued until paramedics arrived, Pastilong said.
Stewart was transported to Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital in Weston, where doctors continued attempts to resuscitate him. After about an hour of working on him, Stewart was pronounced dead at the hospital.
West Virginia University officials confirmed Stewart's death at 3:18 p.m. Monday.
"Mountaineer nation is truly saddened today to learn of the untimely passing of Coach Bill Stewart," WVU President Jim Clements said in a statement.
"Our hearts go out to the Stewart family and Bill's many friends," Clements said. "He was a compassionate, energetic, and kind person. He loved his family dearly and was extremely community-oriented and very giving of his time. He will be greatly missed."
Stewart, a native of New Martinsville, was an assistant coach who took over the football program following the abrupt departure of Rich Rodriguez and led the Mountaineers from 2008 to 2010.
"My heart is broken and I don't know when these tears will stop, but I'm gonna miss that man," former WVU kicker Pat McAfee said on Twitter.
"I feel like I lost a father," former Mountaineer fullback Owen Schmitt tweeted.
Stewart was remembered as a man of good character with an unwavering enthusiasm for WVU and the state of West Virginia.
"Coach Stewart was a rock-solid West Virginian and a true Mountaineer," current WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck said. "His enthusiasm and passion for his state's flagship university was infectious. We join all Mountaineers in mourning his passing."
Those who saw Stewart at the tournament said he was his usual, exuberant self and gave no indication he may have been ill.
"He was in great spirits this morning," said Brian Wadsworth, 36, a Charleston accountant who was playing a few holes behind Pastilong and Stewart.
"He looked great," Wadsworth said. "Just as friendly as the Bill Stewart you see on TV -- he's just a great guy. It's just a sad day for all Mountaineers; it was a big shock to all of us."
West Virginia's political leaders warmly remembered Stewart and expressed their condolences to his wife, Karen, and son, Blaine.
"Coach Stewart brought a newfound pride to the Mountaineer faithful as he led the football team in both competition and character," Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said in a statement. "Together, we ask that Mountaineers everywhere keep the Stewart family in your thoughts and prayers during this sad time."