Baseball Hall of Famer and Minnesota Twins legend Harmon Killebrew said on Friday that he’s ending his battle with esophageal cancer, and plans live out the final days of his life in hospice care. It’s not a story with a lot of funny to make it pop online (and I’m sorry about the title), but if you’ve got any reverence whatsoever for professional sports you’ll understand the importance of Killebrew, if only in how much he means to the people who saw him play.
“It is with profound sadness that I share with you that my continued battle with esophageal cancer is coming to an end,” Killebrew said in a statement released by the Baseball Hall of Fame.
“With the continued love and support of my wife, Nita, I have exhausted all options with respect to controlling this awful disease. My illness has progressed beyond my doctors’ expectation of cure.”
That is just a punch in the stomach. If we can find some sort of context in the stats he collected, his 573 career home runs are the 11th most in baseball. He played 21 of his 22 years in the Bigs in the Minnesota/Washington Senators organization, and brought in over 1,500 RBI. The Twins retired his uniform number in 1975 and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984. He’s not going away, no matter where he goes.
“I look forward to spending my final days in comfort and peace with Nita by my side.”
Good luck, Mr. Killebrew.