After a long battle with dementia, Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers died at the age of 77 on Wednesday.
Although only appearing in 68 games throughout his NFL career due to various injuries, Sayers is still considered one of the greatest running backs of all time.
Sayers was on the All-Pro team on five occasions. He also was selected for the Hall of Fame for their first ballot in 1977. At the age of 34, he was inducted, making him the youngest person in the Hall of Fame to this day.
Known as the “Kansas Comet” during his seven-year career, the running back rushed for 4,956 yards with 56 touchdowns.
The President and CEO of the Hall of Fame, David Baker, said in a statement on Wednesday that “The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Gale.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Ardie, and their entire family. We will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration for future generations. The Hall of Fame flag will fly at half-staff until he is laid to rest.”
Sayers has been battling the brain issue for several years before his death. His wife, Ardie, even said last year that her husband’s condition was deteriorating, and he was having trouble moving and speaking.
Despite his condition, Sayers made a famous appearance at the Bears100 celebration last summer. The crowd moved him to tears when they gave him a standing ovation.
Sayers and Piccolo’s Friendship
Gale Sayers gained national attention for his friendship with Brian Piccolo in an award-winning movie called “Brian’s Song.” The story tells of the two mens friendship while both playing for the Bears. Gale was by his friends side during his death from a lost battle with cancer in 1970. Sayers said that Piccolo was one of the best men he had ever known.