The baseball world was hit with some awful news on Friday morning when Minnesota Twins legend and Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew announced that he will end treatment and enter hospice care as his battle with esophageal cancer has taken a turn for the worse.
The 74-year-old super slugger first told the world of his cancer back in December and has received an outpouring of love and support from Twins and baseball fans ever since.
"It is with profound sadness that I share with you that my continued battle with esophageal cancer is coming to an end. 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.
I have spent the past decade of my life promoting hospice care and educating people on its benefits. I am very comfortable taking this next step and experiencing the compassionate care that hospice provides.
I am comforted by the fact that I am surrounded by my family and friends. I thank you for the outpouring of concern, prayers and encouragement that you have shown me. I look forward to spending my final days in comfort and peace with Nita by my side."
Killebrew's measured and courageous statement really shows why he's become one of baseball's most beloved ambassadors — and why this news is so upsetting. "Killer" has been nothing but class over the past few decades, especially as players used artificial means to prolong their careers and zip past or toward Killebrew's injury-stunted (but still unbelievably impressive) numbers.
As direct recipients of that accomodating attitude this past fall, we wish Mr. Killebrew and his family the best as they enter a very difficult chapter. He'll be in our thoughts.