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Friends: Daughter of former MSU player Mike Labinjo, who died last month, needs help

LANSING — An effort is underway to help the daughter of a former Michigan State football player who died late last month in Canada.

Family and friends of Mike Labinjo have set up a GoFundMe.com account to raise money for Hailey Labinjo, his 10-year-old daughter.

The GoFundMe website includes the following message: “All monies raised will be put in a TRUST that is being set up for Hailey and will be allocated for use over the years as she blossoms into a young woman of her own.”

Mike Labinjo died Sept. 22 at his home in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He was 38. A cause of death hasn’t been disclosed publicly by his family members.

Alberta’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner declined Friday to comment about Labinjo’s death, citing the province’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Attempts by the State Journal to reach Mike Labinjo’s family members since his death haven’t been successful.

Those interested in making a contribution to the fundraiser for Hailey Labinjo can visit gofundme.com/trustforhailey.

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Mike Labinjo’s initial funeral was held Sept. 26 in Calgary.

A second funeral will be held 10 a.m. Wednesday in Toronto at Blessed Sacrament Church, 24 Cheritan Ave.

Visitation is scheduled from 4-8 p.m. Tuesday at Humphrey Funeral Home’s Newbigging Chapel, 1403 Bayview Ave., in Toronto.

Labinjo, a Toronto native, played football at Michigan State from 2000 to 2003. He played for two head coaches: Bobby Williams and John L. Smith.

Smith said Monday Labinjo’s talent at linebacker and pleasant demeanor made an immediate impact when he and his staff took over the program in 2003.

“It was a little bit out of control,” Smith said of his first season at MSU. “Labinjo was one of the guys who was in control. He was a good stabilizing force for us on our football team.”

Labinjo had a brief stint in the NFL from 2004 to 2006. He played eight games for the Philadelphia Eagles and two for the Indianapolis Colts.

Labinjo then played for the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders from 2007 to 2010 and stayed in the area after his career ended in 2011.

As a defensive lineman, Labinjo starred on the Stampeders’ 2008 Grey Cup Championship team.

Eric Lacy is a reporter for the Lansing State Journal. Contact him at 517-377-1206 or elacy@lsj.com. Follow him on Twitter @EricLacy.

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