This story was updated at 9:45 p.m. on Friday, July 31, 2020, with more information.
OPELIKA, Ala. — Harvey Updyke, the overzealous Alabama Crimson Tide football fan who poisoned landmark oak trees at archrival Auburn and went to jail after bragging about it on a radio show, has died.
Updyke's son Bear, named for Tide coaching legend Paul "Bear" Bryant, said the former Texas state trooper died Thursday, AL.com reported. He was 71.
No cause of death was released, but court filings showed Updyke, who lived in Louisiana, had numerous ailments including congestive heart failure and coronary disease.
Updyke pleaded guilty in 2013 to poisoning trees at Auburn's Toomer's Corner, where fans of the Tigers traditionally gather after big victories to celebrate and throw rolls of toilet paper over the oaks.
Authorities learned what had happened only after Updyke, using the pseudonym "Al from Dadeville," announced what he had done on Paul Finebaum's call-in sports talk show. Updyke said he was upset after Auburn beat Alabama in the 2010 Iron Bowl and then went on to win the national championship.
He served six months in jail for damaging an agricultural crop and was ordered to turn over $800,000 but paid only a fraction of the amount. Updyke told a judge he couldn't afford to pay more, and prosecutors' attempt to get more money stalled last year because of questions regarding Updyke's health.
In a public Facebook post, Marsha Updyke recalled her father-in-law as a passionate, lighthearted family man who carried a gun, wore boots and loved attention.
"He was misunderstood at times, but anyone close to him understood him, knew his heart, forgave his flaws, and loved him. He made us all laugh. He genuinely cared," she wrote.
Bear and Marsha did not immediately return messages, and Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes, who tried to get additional restitution payments from Updyke, said he didn't have independent confirmation of his death. Margaret Brown, an attorney who represented Updyke, declined comment.