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'His heart is reaching its end': Greg Olsen says son TJ may need heart transplant

Olsen and his wife Kara launched the HEARTest Yard Foundation after their son, TJ, was born with a congenital heart disease in 2012.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Former Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen tweeted Monday that his son, TJ, may soon need a heart transplant. 

Olsen shared the news on social media, saying TJ's heart "is reaching its end." TJ was born with congenital heart disease, which helped lead the Olsens on a journey that resulted in the opening of a pediatric heart center at Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte. The Olsens launched their HEARTest Yard foundation in 2012. 

"This past week has been exceptionally challenged for our family," Olsen wrote. "As many of you know, our son TJ has faced serious heart issues since birth. TJ has already undergone 3 open-hear surgeries and has survived with a modified heart for his first 8 years of life. 

"Unfortunately, it seems his heart is reaching its end. We are currently working through the process to determine our next steps, which ultimately could lead to a heart transplant."

Olsen continued, thanking everyone for their prayers during this time. 

"TJ has been a fighter since birth. We are going to get through this as a family and be better off as a result of this experience," he wrote. 

"Man, it's extremely tough," Thomas Davis, Retired Panther, said to WCNC Charlotte days after the news. 

"I've sent Greg a few text messages to let him know that we're praying for TJ, and the entire family," Davis said. 

"You know how resilient TJ is and how hard he's fought his entire life and know he's a fighter and he's a kid who's going to pull through this with a ton of prayer. Plus the good doctors they have in the Levine Children's hospital-- you know they are going to take good care of him."

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Olsen's foundation donated $2.5 million to Levine in 2019, when the cardiac care center was first announced. The center opened its doors last December. 

Olsen announced his retirement from the NFL earlier this year. The 14-year veteran signed an agreement to join Fox Sports as an analyst for its NFL telecasts.

RELATED: Greg Olsen to join Thomas Davis for double retirement ceremony

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