ESPN: Tuiasosopo, the man allegedly behind Te'o's non-existent dead girlfriend, confesses hoax

Published: Friday, Jan. 18 2013 11:55 a.m. MST

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, @ronaiahhh (Photo via Twitter) Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, @ronaiahhh (Photo via Twitter)

A Deadspin.com report earlier this week asserted Lennay Kekua was a figment of someone's imagination, and the name that Deadspin proposed as the mastermind behind the Kekua persona is Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.

Thursday, the assertion that Tuiasosopo was behind the Kekua persona were substantiated. A friend of Tuaisosopo's told ESPN's Outside the Lines on Thursday that Tuiasosopo called her up in tears and admitted he was behind the Lennay Kekua hoax.

According to the ESPN report, Tuiasosopo's friend said the hoax started as a game, and was not the first time Tuiasosopo had done it.

"He (Ronaiah) told me that Manti was not involved at all, he was a victim. … The girlfriend was a lie, the accident was a lie, the leukemia was a lie," said the woman. "He was crying, he was literally crying, he's like, 'I know, I know what I have to do.'

"It's not only Manti, but he was telling me that it's a lot of other people they had done this to."

The ESPN report says the friend was interviewed under conditions of anonymity because she feared for the safety of herself and her family in the wake of the publicity this story has generated, but did allow her voice to be recorded.

Landon Hemsley is the sports content manager for DeseretNews.com. Email: lhemsley@deseretnews.com. Twitter: @EarlOfHemsley

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