Te'o girlfriend death story a hoax?

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 16, 2013
Notre Dame says a story about Manti Te'o's girlfriend dying, which he said inspired him to play better as he helped the Fighting Irish get to the BCS title game, turned out to be a hoax apparently perpetrated against the linebacker. The university issued a news release Wednesday after Deadspin.com reported it could find no record of Lennay Kekua existing. The university says that Notre Dame coaches were informed by Te'o and his parents on Dec. 26 that Te'o had been the victim of what appeared to be a hoax. Someone using a fictitious name ''apparently ingratiated herself'' with Te'o, the school said, then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had died of leukemia. The university said ''the proper authorities'' are investigating a ''very cruel deception.'' After Notre Dame upset Michigan State in East Lansing on September 16, Te'o spoke to FOXSportsDetroit.com about losing Kekua a few days earlier. "It was hard," he said. "I lost a woman who I truly love, but I have a family around me and my football family. At the end of the day, families are forever and I will see them again someday. "It is a great escape. I will be honest, throughout the game, you are thinking about it. But football allows me to be in a little realm, a little world that I know. I can honor them by the way I played. "It was for them -- for my girl and grandma -- and for all my loved ones who have passed on. They are all watching. It was a happy moment."
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