UPDATE: Te'o gives statement to

Staff reports
ND Insider

In an ESPN story posted on its website, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o is quoted in a statement provided to ESPN, that he was the victim of a hoax. reported in a story Wednesday it could find no record of the existence of Lennay Kekua, Te'o's alleged former girlfriend who reportedly had died Sept. 12 of complications from leukemia.

Te'o's statement Wednesday on

"This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her.

"To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating.

"It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed to me at the time of my grandmother's death in September were in any way deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life.

"I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been.

"In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was.

"Fortunately, I have many wonderful things in my life, and I'm looking forward to putting this painful experience behind me as I focus on preparing for the NFL Draft."

Updates will be provided as more details of the situation become available.

Here is a link to the article on