NFL legend Dick Butkus has passed away at his home after suffering a medical emergency.
The 80-year-old footballer, who is widely recognized as one of the greatest linebackers of all time, collapsed at his home in Malibu on Thursday afternoon.
Shortly after the paramedics responded to the former athlete’s residency, the man was pronounced dead.
According to the reports, a call for help was made just before 1 p.m. after Butkus was found unresponsive at his home. His family has since spoken out and claimed that the footballer died peacefully in his sleep.
“The Butkus family confirms that football and entertainment legend Dick Butkus died peacefully in his sleep overnight at home in Malibu, California,” they said, Fox32 first reported.
“The Butkus family is gathering with Dick’s wife Helen. They appreciate your prayers and support. Additional information will be provided when it’s available.”
Paying a tribute to the former Chicago Bears star was also the club’s official account which shared the following statement:
“Dick was the ultimate Bear, and one of the greatest players in NFL history. He was Chicago’s son. He exuded what our great city is about and, not coincidently, what George Halas looked for in a player: toughness, smarts, instincts, passion and leadership.
“He refused to accept anything less than the best from himself, or from his teammates. Dick had a gruff manner, and maybe that kept some people from approaching him, but he actually had a soft touch. His legacy of philanthropy included a mission of ridding performance enhancing drugs from sports and promoting heart health.”
The statement continued: “His contributions to the game he loved will live forever and we are grateful he was able to be at our home opener this year to be celebrated one last time by his many fans.”
Dick is survived by his wife Helen and three children. Our thoughts remain with the family during this challenging time.