Washington Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan will be coaching with a heavy heart Sunday in St. Louis following the death of longtime NFL assistant Mike Heimerdinger, who passed away Friday night at the age of 58 after losing a battle with cancer.

Heimerdinger was Shanahan’s college roommate at Eastern Illinois in the ’70s and served as Denver’s receivers coach from 1995-99 and the Broncos’ assistant head coach in 2006 and 2007.

“We lost a very special person and my best friend in Mike Heimerdinger,” Shanahan said in a statement released by the Redskins. “I know the man upstairs needed a superstar so he took him earlier than we all wanted. His love for his family was unprecedented and I will forever miss him.”

Heimerdinger also had stints with the Jets and Titans during his NFL coaching career.