Ricky Sandoval, the Lions team’s director of security, died Thursday morning at Harper University Hospital in Detroit after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer that lasted more than three years. He turned 49 on June 30th and is survived by his loving wife, Gael.
Shortly after Sandoval was diagnosed in May of 2006, he and Gael formed “Team Sandoval,” a support group consisting of family, the Lions organization and his many friends and associates throughout the National Football League who also knew Sandoval from his days working with the San Francisco 49ers and with Contemporary Services Corporation (CSC), a company that once provided security services at Super Bowls for the NFL.
Gael chronicled Ricky’s fight and provided regular updates on their journey through www.rickysvictory.com, the official blog of Ricky & Gael Sandoval and Team Sandoval.
As a dedicated member of the organization, Sandoval touched virtually every person and every aspect of the team’s operations. He was hired as director of security in June of 2001, and for the past eight seasons he managed the team’s security operations. Sandoval handled all team security at the Lions Headquarters and Training Facility in Allen Park, along with team security detail during road trips. During his time with the team, he served as the team’s liaison with local, state and federal law enforcement and public authorities.
A graduate of Arizona State University and a southern California native, he and Gael lived in Royal Oak, Mich.
Funeral arrangements are pending.