OSHKOSH -- Oshkosh police confirmed Tuesday the body pulled from the Fox River in Oshkosh Monday is that of 21-year-old Michael Philbin, son of Green Bay packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin. The cause of death has yet to be determined -- and it's not clear whether alcohol is a factor.
Joe Philbin issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon: "We love Michael so much and will miss him dearly. He loved his family, friends and life. His memory will live on in the hearts and minds of all who knew him. We are appreciative of the prayers and the support of our family, friends and the Packers family. We ask for continued respect and privacy for our family as we deal with our loss."
Michael's body was pulled from the river around 3 p.m. Monday. The Winnebago County Sheriff's Department says it matched the description of Philbin. Officials say foul play is not suspected, but they say their investigation continues.
Police in Oshkosh say Michael Philbin of Ripon was last heard from around 2 a.m. Sunday. Michael was a college student at Ripon College and lived in the dorms, and had been visiting friends in Oshkosh Sunday evening. He was reported missing on Sunday evening. A security guard at a nearby factory reported seeing someone in the Fox River around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, and called 911. That 911 call was released Tuesday. In the 911 call, the security guard says "there's a guy in the river. He fell through the ice."
We're told Michael was studying economics at Ripon College, and loved golf. The dean at the college says many in Ripon are in shock. "Actual disbelief, which you think about it, you leave for a vacation period as we were on, assuming that those that you know and love will be back in a week, and then suddenly you get news like this, and it hits you of, wow, there are things in life that aren't guarantees, and every moment is a special one," Ripon College Dean Chris Ogle said.
Adam Sellner, one of Philbin's good friends write on Philbin's Facebook page: "You were my best friend here at Ripon. You will always be missed. Love you man."
In a news release issued Monday moring, Packers General Manager Ted Thompson said, “The Packers family was saddened to learn of the passing of Michael Philbin, son of offensive coordinator Joe Philbin. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe, his wife, Diane, and the Philbin family as they cope with their loss. This is an emotional and difficult time for them, and we ask that everyone respect their privacy. All of us in the Packers family share in their grief.”
A visitation is planned for Michael for Thursday, January 12th at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church on Oakwood Drive in Green Bay, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday at the church.