Frank Gifford, Pro Football Hall of Famer, Dies at 84 of Natural Causes

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 9, 2015

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Frank Gifford, the Hall of Fame NFL player and legendary sports broadcaster, died Sunday.

His family released a statement, per Hasani Gittens of NBC News:

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.

Joe Browne of the NFL league office expounded upon Gifford's legacy:

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement on Gifford's death, per Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports:

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 commissioners, 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 out to Kathie Lee and the entire Gifford family.

Garafolo also provided statements from Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch:

John Mara: "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 whom we looked up to and admired. We loved him and will miss him terribly."

Steve Tisch: "Not only was Frank a member of the Giants family from the time he left USC, and will be forever, but because Frank, my father (Bob) and Pete Rozelle were so close in the '60s, I felt like he was a member of my family. I always loved seeing Frank on our sideline before our games. He had the handshake of a 25-year old, and he looked you right in the eye with his big blue eyes. He was such a strong person in every way. He will be missed and will always be remembered as a Giants' Giant."

Gifford spent all 12 NFL seasons with the New York Giants, playing in eight Pro Bowls and being voted as an Associated Press first-team All-Pro four times. He rushed for 3,609 yards and 34 touchdowns and also caught 367 passes for 5,434 yards and 43 touchdowns. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977. 

After his playing days, he had a long and storied second career as a color commentator, most famously on Monday Night Football. Pete Prisco of CBS Sports remembered his time in the booth fondly:

Gifford was a legend in the game of football for the duration of his life, and his loss will be felt deeply across the NFL community.  

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