National Football League Hall of Famer Fred Dean died Wednesday night. He was 68.
The four-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl winning champion reportedly died after contracting the coronavirus, according to the Sacramento Bee in a piece published Thursday.
Dean’s former teammate Dwight Hicks shared recently that the NFL star was reportedly battling COVID-19, per Fox News. (RELATED: Legendary Comic Don Rickles Died At Age 90)
“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Fred Dean,” Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker shared in a statement to ESPN following news of his passing. (RELATED: Hollywood Reacts To Death Of Legendary Actress Doris Day)
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“He exemplified many of the values learned from this great game — commitment, integrity, courage — over the course of his life,” he added. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Fred’s wife, Pam, and their entire family. We will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration for future generations.”
The All-Pro player was drafted out of Louisiana Tech second round of the draft by the San Diego Chargers in 1975 and remained with the team until he was traded in 1981 to the San Francisco 49ers.
“The 49ers family is heartbroken to learn of the passing of one of the game’s all-time greats, Fred Dean,” the 49ers shared in a statement. “Fred not only impacted countless opposing quarterbacks throughout his career, but also the future of the game of football as one of the NFL’s first true pass rushing specialists.”
While Chargers owner Dean Spanos reacted to news of Dean’s death, calling him a “gentle giant with a smile matched only by his own sheer size. Everyone who knew Fred was better for it, and we are all terribly saddened by the news of his passing.”
In 1985, Dean retired from football after playing in 141 games over 11 seasons. In August 2008, the football star was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.