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Tony Gwynn's family files wrongful death suit against tobacco industry

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Gwynn's family has filed a wrongful death suit against the tobacco industry. Tony Gwynn Jr., Alicia Gwynn and Anisha Gwynn are named as plaintiffs in the case. They suggest that at the time that Tony Gwynn started dipping in the late 70's, while a collegiate baseball player, the tobacco industry was purposely marketing their product to African-American men.

"Now that the family understands how he was targeted, they understand that the industry knew they had this highly carcinogenic product and they were marketing it to people like Tony," said David S. Casey, the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs. "They want to hold them accountable and let a jury make a decision as to what is proper in this case."

The lawsuit states that Gwynn received free samples regularly from the tobacco industry while at San Diego State University. It was part of their marketing process, to make him a role model for future chewers.

Gwynn used up to 2 cans of Skoal chewing tobacco a day for 31 years. He'd use it when he woke up and sometimes fell asleep with it in his mouth. When I interviewed him in 2007, he had dip cups all over his office and was spitting the entire time I was there.

No dollar amount was mentioned in the lawsuit.