-UPDATE 1-Notre Dame hoax tip was emailed
(Adds Inside Edition identifying woman whose photograph was said to be Kekua, background on Notre Dame controversies)
CHICAGO, Jan 17 (Reuters) – The tip that led to the revelation that one of the most widely recounted U.S. sports narratives of the past year was a hoax came to the editors of an online sports blog as many of their news tips do: an unsolicited email.
That email led Deadspin.com assignment editor Timothy Burke on the hunt of a story that exposed the heart-wrenching tale of standout Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o's dead girlfriend as a fabrication, Burke said on CNN on Thursday.
Te’o sprang to national prominence last fall when the senior co-captain was seen heroically leading the Fighting Irish to an underdog victory against the Michigan State Spartans within days of learning his grandmother had died. Moreover, it was widely reported, Te’o's girlfriend had died of leukemia just hours after his grandmother’s death.
From that point, Te’o's narrative was a prominent feature in coverage of the team, which has a dedicated following and whose games are televised nationally each week.
Notre Dame went on to an undefeated r…