Pro Football Hall of Fame and New York Giants running back Frank Gifford passed away due to natural causes at the age of 84 on Aug. 9.
Frank Gifford has passed away at the age of 84.
According to a statement from Gifford's family, he passed away due to natural causes. The New York Giants' official website posted the statement on Sunday:
"It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved husband, father and friend, Frank Gifford. Frank died suddenly this beautiful Sunday morning of natural causes at his Connecticut home.
"We rejoice in the extraordinary life he was privileged to live, and we feel grateful and blessed to have been loved by such an amazing human being. We ask that our privacy be respected at this difficult time and we thank you for your prayers."
Giants president John Mara also issued a statement on Giants.com:
"Frank Gifford was the ultimate Giant. He was the face of our franchise for so many years. More importantly, he was a treasured member of our family. My father loved him like a son and was proud to act as his presenter for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a favor Frank returned years later by presenting my father in Canton.
"For my siblings and me, Frank was like a revered older brother whome we looked up to and admired. We loved him and will miss him terribly."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell dubbed Gifford as "an icon of the game," per Giants.com:
"Frank Gifford was an icon of the game, both as a Hall of Fame player for the Giants and Hall of Fame broadcaster for CBS and ABC. Frank's talent and charisma on the field and on the air were important elements in the growth and popularity of the modern NFL.
"He was a great friend to everyone in the league, a special advisor to NFL commisioners, and served NFL fans with enormous distinction for so many decades. We will always remember Frank's contributions and miss his friendship.
"Our hearts go to Kathie Lee (Gifford) and the entire Gifford family."
Gifford was born on Aug. 16, 1930 in Santa Monica, Ca. His father was an oil worker. Gifford recalls sleeping in the family car and eating dog food during his formative year. He said his family moved an estimated 47 times in his youth, per ESPN.
Gifford earned All-American honors as a member of the USC Trojans. The Giants drafted him in 1952, per The New York Times' Richard Goldstein.
Among Gifford's Giants teammates were Charlie Conerly, Y.A. Tittle, Kyle Rote, Alex Webster, Roosevelt Brown, Del Shofner, Sam Huff, Andy Robustelli, Roosevelt Grier and Emlen Tunnell, per The New York Times.
Gifford enjoyed his best year in 1956. He rushed for 819 yards and nine touchdowns in 12 appearances, per ESPN.
The league proclaimed him its Most Valuable Player that year. The Giants beat the Chicago Bears, 47-7, in the NFL Championship Game, per Pro-Football-Reference.com.
Gifford fumbled twice during the 1958 NFL Championship Game against the Baltimore Colts. The game was later called "The Greatest Game Ever Played." The Colts prevailed, 23-17, per ESPN.
He didn't partciularly cherish the moment, per ESPN.
Chuck Bednarik's hit on Gifford on Nov. 20, 1960 made national headlines. Goldstein says he suffered a severe concussion and retired three months later.
Gifford spent 10 days in the hospital, per ESPN.
He returned in 1962 before he retired in 1964. He finished his NFL career with 3,609 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns. He added 367 catches for 5,434 yards and 43 touchdowns, per Goldstein.
Gifford became popular as a play-by-play announced on ABC's Monday Night Football. He joined Howard Cosell and Don Meredith in the broadcast booth in 1971, per The New York Times.
Gifford stayed on until 1998, per Goldstein.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted him in 1977. The hall's president, David Baker, issued a statement to ESPN on Sunday:
"Frank Gifford's passion, charisma and deep love for the game helped grow pro football into this country's most popular sport. He took the values he learned on the playing field during his Hall of Fame career and applied them to his long and distinguished broadcasting career.
"And, in doing so, he taught fans of all generations to love the game."
Gifford's movie-star good looks caught everyone's eye. He appeared in around a dozen films. His most famous one was the 1959 movie "Up Periscope," per ESPN.
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