Pat Tillman (November 6, 1976 - April 22, 2004) was an American football player who left his professional sports career and enlisted in the United States Army in May 2002. He served in Iraq and later in Afghanistan, where he was killed. Reports in the media of his death and the background of his sacrifice symbolized a heroic image in the minds of many Americans.
Subsequently, Tillman's death became a national controversy after the Pentagon disclosed to the Tillman family over a month after his death, on May 28, 2004, that he died as a result of a friendly fire incident. The family and other critics allege that the Pentagon delayed the disclosure for weeks after Tillman's memorial service out of a desire to protect the image of the U.S. armed forces.