University of Miami

Mother of Miami Hurricanes cornerback Artie Burns dies at 44

UM cornerback Artie Burns looks on during a 58-0 loss to Clemson at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015.
UM cornerback Artie Burns looks on during a 58-0 loss to Clemson at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015.

Can it get any harder for the Hurricanes family?

Dana Smith, the mother of University of Miami star cornerback Artie Burns, died overnight after suffering a heart attack. Smith was 44.

Smith, like her son Artie, was a former track star at Miami Northwestern and worked as an accountant for a hospitality company.

Last week she told the Miami Herald for an article about Artie that she felt very good about what he and his brothers have achieved.

“I am so happy and so proud of Artie,’’ Smith said. “Through all the adversity of not having a father here, he’s overcome it and has been a positive role model for his family.’’

Artie’s father is in prison in South Carolina, though the two talk whenever possible.

Safety Dallas Crawford said after Tuesday’s practice that at least 15 Hurricanes gathered at the hospital Monday night to support Artie, who obviously missed practice and according to players is with his grandparents.

“It’s a sad situation,’’ Crawford, said. “It feels like we haven’t gotten good news in a while.’’

Fellow safety Deon Bush talked about his emotions.

“I was there last night,’’ Bush said. “I can’t tell you how he’s doing right now because I know losing a mom is unimaginable. It hurts. It hurts all of us to see our brother go through that.

“His mom was like a mom to us. We’re here to support him. It’s crazy.”

Continued Bush: “You’ve got to push through, man. We’ve got to rally for him. We can’t be down because we can’t be negative right now. We’ve got to be positive. We’ve got to rally around him and support him as much as possible. That’s how we’ve got to do it as a team.”

NCAA rules permit an institution to run a fundraiser for student-athletes in catastrophic circumstances. The University of Miami has begun this process for Artie and his family by setting up a GoFundMe page to provide support for funeral, medical, and related expenses.

As of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday the donations had approached $25,000.

Burns has started at cornerback in every game this season and is one of just nine players nationally that has at least five interceptions. The Miami native also is an accomplished track and field athlete. He finished second in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.70 seconds at the ACC Championships and also competed in the NCAA Championships.

Susan Miller Degnan: 305-376-3366, @smillerdegnan

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