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Manti Te’o’s dead girlfriend story allegedly a hoax

Manti Te_o

Robert Duyos/MCT Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te’O finished second in Heisman Trophy voting and was pegged as a high pick in the coming NFL draft.

Promising U.S. college football player Manti Te’o claimed his girlfriend died, soon after he lost his grandmother, yet he played through the pain.

Turns out his grandmother died, but his girlfriend never even existed, according to a lengthy investigation by, a sports news website.

Te’o, an all-star player for Notre Dame who finished second in Heisman Trophy voting and is expected to be a first-round NFL draft pick, tearfully spoke of his pain playing football after losing his girlfriend.

His heartbreaking story — of how a young man played through painful loss and had his best-ever season last year — was media gold.

The girlfriend survived a car accident, only to be later diagnosed with leukemia and die, reports said. The two deaths were said to be mere hours apart.

The Fighting Irish linebacker appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and his story was told again and again, including in the South Bend Tribune, the New York Times, on CBS and ESPN.

But it was all apparently a hoax, according to the story which revealed the girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, only ever existed online.

Te’o faked the relationship with Kekua, allegedly created by his friend Ronaiah Tuiasosopo using pictures of another woman. spoke with the woman whose picture was used for the fake Twitter account, and she was shocked. was not able to reach Te’o or Tuiasosopo for comment. – Sports