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Ala. swimmer killed by tornado saved girlfriend’s life: ‘He always wanted to be a hero’

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University of Alabama swimmer John Servati died from injuries he suffered during the tornadoes that ripped through the South on Sunday and Monday, but not before saving his girlfriend's life.

"John Servati died a hero. Held up a concrete wall long enough for his girlfriend to get out from under it before it collapsed again on him," women's swim team member Anna Rae Gwarjanski tweeted on Tuesday. "John's mom told our team this morning he always wanted to be an Alabama swimmer, and he always wanted to be a hero. He accomplished both."

The 21-year-old junior from Tupelo, Miss., died at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa after a retaining wall in the basement of his home collapsed, ESPN reported Tuesday.

"He was a tremendous young man," Roots Woodruff, associate director of communications with UA Athletics, told weather.com on Tuesday. "In a world that is increasingly buried in their phone, John never failed to have a good word for you."

At least 31 people died across the region during the storms, weather.com reported Tuesday. Fifty-eight tornadoes were estimated to have occurred. 

University of Alabama representatives are considering a memorial service but have not yet finalized plans, said weather.com.

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