Larry Allen, Cowboys legend and former 49er, dies on vacation in Mexico

<div><a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Dallas Cowboys;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Dallas Cowboys</a> Larry Allen during a Sept. 7, 1997 game at Sun Devil stadium in Tempe, Ariz. (Photo by Albert Dickson/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images)</div>

Larry Allen, a former Dallas Cowboy offensive lineman and San Francisco 49er, died while on vacation in Mexico, the team announced on Monday.

He was 51.

"He was deeply loved and cared for by his wife, Janelle, whom he referred to as his heart and soul, his daughters Jayla and Loriana, and his son, Larry III," according to a Cowboys' statement provided to Yahoo Sports. 

Allen played 12 of his 14 NFL seasons with the Cowboys.

He was named a First-team NFL All-Pro seven times and was an 11-time Pro Bowler at both guard and tackle. He helped the Cowboys win Super Bowl XXX in 1996.

He spent his final two NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.

He was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2013.

Allen overcame a challenging upbringing in Compton, California. He was once stabbed 12 times while protecting one of his brothers. He attended four different high schools before attending Butte College, ESPN reported. 

He was a Napa native and attended Sonoma State University, where he played for the Cosacks and was a second-round pick in 1994.

The university said he was the first Sonoma State student-athlete to be drafted by the National Football League in the 20-year history of football at SSU.

"It feels great to be inducted," Allen said at the time. "It is a great honor for me."

Allen was so dominating in the 1990s at Sonoma State that he was named the Northern California Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year as a lineman, "unheard of for a player that didn't play quarterback, running back or wide receiver," the school's website boasts.

As a senior in 1993, Allen gave up only one sack and was part of an offense that established ten new school records under head coach Frank Scalercio.

While in college, Allen sent a couple of defenders flying into the air (some near unconsciousness), breaking some of their bones and tearing their ligaments as a result, according to Sonoma State.

One instance was caught on tape and the image of a Portland State defender being blocked and thrown into the air by Allen was repeatedly shown on ESPN as the 1994 NFL Draft approached.

An official cause of death has not been released.