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Apr 29, 2014 1:41 PM by associated press/ Twitter

Alabama swimmer killed during tornado outbreak being called a hero

The University of Alabama confirms that a 21-year-old member of its swim team, John Servati of Tupelo, Miss., was killed Monday night when storms swept through the city.

Tuscaloosa city spokeswoman Deidre Stalnaker says Servati was taking shelter in the basement of a home when a retaining wall collapsed. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital. She says the accident happened at a home on 22nd Avenue about 10:30 p.m. when the city was under a tornado warning.

Servati competed in three events at the Southeastern Conference championships last year. He was a dean's list student and was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. "John Servati was an extraordinary young man of great character and warmth who had a tremendously giving spirit," UA head coach Dennis Pursley said. "During this incredibly difficult time, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to all who had the good fortune to know him. He will forever be in our hearts and a part of the Crimson Tide legacy."

Servati's girlfriend was reportedly uninjured, despite being with him when the tornado hit. ESPN shared tweets from a member of the women's swim team who calls Servati a hero.

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