Ruffino's On the River owner Ruffino Rodrigue

Ruffino's restaurant owner Ruffin Rodrigue

Ruffin Rodrigue, owner of Ruffino's restaurant and a former LSU football player, died unexpectedly Tuesday night from a heart attack. He was 53. 

Rodrigue was a guard for the Tigers between 1986 and 1989, a dynasty era that saw the team win the SEC championship in 1986 and 1988.

He moved to Montreal after graduating with a marketing degree to play for the World League of American Football until an injury ended his career.

When Rodrigue returned to Louisiana, he put his marketing background to use, working for a number of food and beverage companies before starting Ruffino's in 2000.

The popular Italian eatery in Baton Rouge saw success, which led to Rodrigue opening a second restaurant in Lafayette in 2013.

Before his death, Rodrigue had been advocating for grants and relief for restaurants hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Check back for updates on this developing story. 

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