University of Alabama Swimmer Dies in Tornado that Hit Tuscaloosa

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WHNT) - We are learning more about a storm-related death in Tuscaloosa.

Our news partner reports 21-year-old John Servati died late Monday.  He was originally from Tupelo, Mississippi and a junior of the University of Alabama swim team.

John Servati (Photo: University of Alabama)

John Servati (Photo: University of Alabama)

A Tuscaloosa spokesperson says Servati died after a retaining wall collapsed in the basement of his residence on 22nd Avenue.  He died at DCH Regional Medical Center, according to The Crimson White, the student newspaper.

A fellow swim team member says Servati held up a concrete wall long enough for his girlfriend to escape.

His swim coach described him as a man of great character and a giving spirit.

His teammate Anna Rae Gwarjanski described him as a hero.


  • Judy Hill

    I’m so sorry for the passing of your Son. It’s not fair that they are taken to soon. I lost my Steven the day before his 21st B’day, no parent should have to endure the pain of it. Time will heal but he has gone home to be a angel in Heaven. You will see him again, I’ll being prayers that your strength get you through.

  • Dawn

    He laid down his life for another and will receive his reward in heaven. My prayers go out to his family, girlfriend, and everyone who knew him. Such a tragedy and so handsome.

  • Linda Odom

    So sad!! Prayers forhis family, girlfriend, and his friends! What a special Son u have! So sorry for your loss!!

  • Nerissa Johnston

    I remember John as a small boy when he and my daughter were in class together. He was a true joy to be around. My heart and prayers go out to the family. May God bless you with comfort.

  • Brenda Batrum

    So sorry for your loss. Praying the Lord will give you strength and peace.Earth’s loss is heaven’s gain!

  • Sue

    He was truly a hero! He saved a life. God bless him and his family. Such a great loss. May he rest in peace.

  • Jane

    I’m so sorry for your loss, God blessed you with a son that was beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. God bless you and keep you.

  • Julie Hudson

    I saw this article and just wanted to say that his parents must have been very special indeed and shown him great love, for him to have been as selfless as he was. This is the greatest attribute anyone can hope to achieve in a lifetime. And such a wonderful guy as this must have had very high standards for picking a partner, which also reflects on the lady that he gave his life for. Being one that went through and survived the 2011 Tornado Outbreak in Northern Alabama, I sincerely hope that she doesnt blame herself, as every Single Thing happens for a reason, and she couldnt have a more precious gift. My prayers and so many others prayers are with his special family. My thouhts are especially with his Mother, for this Mother’s Day. May you all find peace when reflecting on your lost loved one.

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