Scottsdale, Ariz. (WKBW release) -- Minnesota Twins great and baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew died Tuesday morning following a battle with esophageal cancer.
Killebrew, 74, died peacefully with his wife, Nita, and their family at his side, according to the Twins.
Killebrew was an 11-time all-star who ranks 11th on the all-time home run list with 573 over a 22-year career with the Washington Senators and Twins. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984.
“No individual has ever meant more to the Minnesota Twins organization and millions of fans across Twins Territory than Harmon Killebrew," Twins President Dave St. Peter said. "Harmon will long be remembered as one of the most prolific home run hitters in the history of the game and the leader of a group of players who helped lay the foundation for the long-term success of the Twins franchise and Major League Baseball in the Upper Midwest. However, more importantly Harmon’s legacy will be the class, dignity and humility he demonstrated each and every day as a Hall of Fame-quality husband, father, friend, teammate and man. The Twins extend heartfelt sympathies and prayers to the Killebrew family at this difficult time.”
“Harmon Killebrew personified Hall of Fame excellence in every aspect of his dynamic life," said National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Chairman Jane Forbes Clark. "He will forever be remembered for his 573 career home runs and as the 1969 American League Most Valuable Player, and as one of the greatest hitters of his era. Since joining the Hall of Fame family in 1984, Harmon was a beacon of light among his fellow Hall of Famers, always smiling, always enjoying every moment that life delivered at his doorstep. We have so many fond memories of this wonderful baseball hero, and we will miss him enormously.”
“Harmon was a Hall of Famer on and off the field," Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said. "He was baseball's version of Paul Bunyan, with his prodigious home run power, leading by example in the clubhouse and on the field. Off the field, he emanated class, dignity, and warmth, and he was a great humanitarian. He was so down-to-earth, you would never realize he was a baseball legend. It’s ironic that his nickname was ‘Killer,’ as he was one of the nicest, most generous individuals to ever walk the earth.”