Since I first arrived at the University of Alabama I knew three things, Nick Saban coached the football team, the sun was hot and Cameron Luke Ratliff embodied Alabama basketball.
I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Luke personally, in fact, I only ever crossed his path a handful of times. But what I can say is that each interaction I had with him, as small as it was, I left with only the most positive thoughts of him.
Even if you were sitting closer to the ceiling than the hardwood of Coleman Collesium you felt the rush of energy exuberated from him, cheering on the Tide. And from what everyone has now seen from the thousands of tweets honoring “Fluff”, that’s also how he lived his life.
Unabashedly passionate, and full of joy.
Losing someone this young, with so much ahead of him can only be described as tragic and will leave a pit that seems unalterable. But there are ways to begin to fill it and become whole again.
Remember the times you had with Luke, the laughs, the cries, the conversations, the wins and yes even the losses.
Time on this earth is precious and creating memories with the ones you love is the greatest currency there is, and Luke clearly had tremendous wealth in that department.
Luke Ratliff impacted not just Alabama football players, but the entire Alabama athletic community. Below is what Alabama athletics, fans and friends shared following his passing. If you wish to help the Ratliff family you may donate or share the link to his gofundme page organized by Crimson Tide basketball coach Bryan Hodgson.
Devastating news. Doesn’t seem real. Fluff has been our biggest supporter since day one. Put all he had into our program. Loved sharing this ride with him. You’ll be missed dearly my man! Wish we had one more victory cigar and hug together. Roll Tide Forever.@fluffopotamus88 pic.twitter.com/1igys6NdHh
— Nate Oats (@nate_oats) April 3, 2021
I know we are all heartbroken hearing the news about Cameron Luke Ratliff, @fluffopotamus88.
Fluff brought a positive attitude & energy to everything & everyone around him, especially @AlabamaMBB. He inspired all of us.
— Greg Byrne (@Greg_Byrne) April 3, 2021
I’ll never forget the moment when @JeffPurinton suggested I give a piece of the net to him. I took it over to him and he cried…he was so happy to be considered a part of @AlabamaMBB he couldn’t even speak he was so happy. Rest easy buddy! https://t.co/0btyarJSDP
— Bryan Hodgson (@BamacoachBryan) April 3, 2021
RIP Fluff !!! Praying for your family bro 😭!! pic.twitter.com/IX2F7ekrNQ
— Herbert Jones (@_hoopinglife) April 3, 2021
Devastated. You’ll be missed, Fluff. We love you 🙏🏽🖤
— Alex Reese (@alexxreese18) April 3, 2021
Really don’t have the words man. He lit up every room with his smile and lived life with so much energy and joy. A legend that is gone too soon. Rest easy, Fluff 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/Sb6B5liXH7
— Tyler Barnes (@iTylerBarnes) April 3, 2021
— Collin 'Young Bull' Sexton (@CollinSexton02) April 3, 2021
Shocked and heartbroken over the sudden passing of fluff. A legend and a friend. He will be missed dearly. Praying for the Ratliff family during this tragic time. Man this one hurts!
— Britton Johnson (@BrittonJohnson) April 3, 2021
This is the saddest thing ever. Fly high king👑 https://t.co/WZzGaSYYDO
— Seth McLaughlin (@Seth_Mc24) April 3, 2021
Bro there’s no way Fluff is gone….
— Chris Owens (@BGChrisOwens) April 3, 2021
Fly High King 🥺❤️🙏🏾 https://t.co/Db6Q7PjkNN
— Mack Wilson (@5mackwilson1) April 3, 2021
I’m sorry I couldn’t say anything sooner. I loved @fluffopotamus88 like a brother and I wanted to respect his privacy as he battled. He was a fighter to the end. Thank you SO much for your support. His mom, dad, and brothers and friends appreciate it more than you know pic.twitter.com/dTbRog8Xl5
— Tuscaloosa’s Cigar Mansion (@RandRCigars) April 3, 2021
I’m so heartbroken. Luke was one of the best people that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in my 28 years of life. He light up a room with his smile & personality anywhere he went. Calling him a friend was such an honor. Love you, Luke… pic.twitter.com/1mE3CGJ1Cp
— Cruz Oxenreider (@TheRealCruzOx) April 3, 2021
Oh man 😭 https://t.co/eitHgN4XDh
— KD ➐ (@notkdk3) April 3, 2021
Too long for Twitter but if you have a moment please read this. Luke meant so much to me and everyone else who had ever met him and words can’t even begin to describe how much I’m going to miss him.
— Matthew Travis (@Mjtrav627) April 3, 2021
I’m at a loss of words. He was someone who cared , someone who supported, and someone who loved alabama and believed in me more than I knew was possible. Cameron Luke Ratliff, I love you. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/nl9WYnr5i8
— Taylor Morgan (@taylormorgz) April 3, 2021
Praying for the Ratliff family and everyone who was lucky enough to know Luke.
Roll Tide, Fluff. pic.twitter.com/tAnoMRh4XX
— Trinidad C. Miller (@trin_miller61) April 3, 2021
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77