A legend passes away: Dick Butkus dies at 80

Written by Henrik Rothen

Oct.06 - 2023 7:52 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Dick Butkus dies at 80.

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Dick Butkus, one of the most iconic figures in American football history, has passed away at the age of 80. According to a statement from his family, he died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Malibu, California.

Known for his hard-hitting style and outgoing personality, Butkus was a legend for the Chicago Bears and one of the greatest players in NFL history.

A true son of Chicago

Butkus was more than just a football player; he was a true son of Chicago. Growing up in the city's southern Fernwood neighborhood, he was the youngest of nine children in a working-class family of Lithuanian descent.

He began dreaming of a professional football career as early as fifth grade and worked hard to make that dream a reality.

During his nine-year NFL career in the 1960s and 1970s, Butkus was selected to eight Pro Bowls and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.

He was also enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983. His No. 51 jersey was retired by the Bears in 1994, and he was named to the NFL's All-Decade Teams for both decades he played in.

Life after football

After retiring from the sport, Butkus ventured into acting and appeared in several TV shows and movies.

He had roles in shows like "MacGyver," "Hang Time," and "My Two Dads," and starred in movies such as "Any Given Sunday" and "The Longest Yard." He also served as the Bears' radio announcer for several years.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell described Butkus as "a fierce and passionate competitor," whose "intuition, toughness, and athleticism made him the model linebacker whose name will forever be linked to the position and the Chicago Bears."

Butkus's passing was announced shortly before the Bears' Thursday night game against the Washington Commanders. The teams and fans observed a moment of silence before the game to honor the late legend.

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