“He passed away in his sleep last night,” Larry Mueller, who is married to Ron's sister Lana, told CBC Hamilton on Wednesday afternoon. “Sometimes you just wear out.”
Born in 1963, Lancaster, son of legendary CFL quarterback, coach and executive Ron Lancaster Sr., worked as an assistant coach for the CFL clubs in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Hamilton.
He served as head coach for the University of Manitoba Bisons in the mid-1990s.
He made five Grey Cup appearances, winning three, including in 1999 with Hamilton when his father was the club's head coach.
Lancaster was found dead in his Hamilton apartment, according to an official with the Tiger Cats.
Mueller, who coaches the University of Regina's varsity football team, said his brother-in-law had recently been coaching high school football.
“A good young guy, a good family guy, a hard-working guy,” Mueller added. “He just went too early. And he'll be missed.”
Tributes to Lancaster began pouring out on Wednesday afternoon.
“The entire Tiger-Cats organization would like to express our sincere condolences to the Lancaster family,” the team's president Scott Mitchell said in a press release.
Officials with the Edmonton Eskimos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers also made statements commemorating the longtime football coach.
The elder Lancaster won two Grey Cups as a quarterback with Ottawa (1960) and Saskatchewan (1966), before claiming two CFL titles as a head coach with Edmonton (1993) and Hamilton (1999).
The league's outstanding player in 1970, he was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1982 and died Sept. 18, 2008, at the age of 69.