It seems like just yesterday, but last December, Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew announced that he had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer.
On Friday…he announced (via the Basball Hall of Fame) that he would be ending his battle.
It is with profound sadness that I share with you that my continued battle with esophageal cancer is coming to an end. With the continued love and support of my wife, Nita, I have exhausted all options with respect to controlling this awful disease. My illness has progressed beyond my doctors’ expectation of cure.
I have spent the past decade of my life promoting hospice care and educating people on its benefits. I am very comfortable taking this next step and experiencing the compassionate care that hospice provides.
I am comforted by the fact that I am surrounded by my family and friends. I thank you for the outpouring of concern, prayers and encouragement that you have shown me. I look forward to spending my final days in comfort and peace with Nita by my side.
The 74-year-old Killebrew was named the American League MVP in 1969 and is an 11-time All-Star. His 573 career home runs ranks him 11th on the all-time list.
“He’s such a classy guy,” Jim Kaat, Killebrew’s teammate for 15 years told Reuters. “I think he was the face of the (Minnesota) Twins organization. The Twins have a reputation for handling themselves properly on and off the field and playing the game right, and I think that probably started with Harmon.”
The Twins retired his uniform number in 1975 and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984 after a 22-year career in which he recorded 1584 RBI and a .256 batting average in 2435 games.