BREAKING: Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers dies at age 77 following a battle with dementia as mourners remember the Hall of Famer as ‘the very essence of a team player’

  • Chicago Bears legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers has died at 77 after recently battling dementia. A specific cause of death hasn’t been revealed
  • Despite playing just seven seasons due to knee problems, the running back was one of the NFL’s marquee players in the 60s, twice leading the league in rushing
  • In addition to his bust at the Pro Football Hall, Sayers was also immortalized by actor Billy Dee Williams in the tear-jerking made-for-TV movie, Brian’s Song
  • Brian’s Song told the story of the unlikely friendship between the famously quiet Sayers and teammate Brian Piccolo, a boisterous fullback played by James Caan
  • Piccolo, who broke into the NFL along with Sayers in 1965, died of cancer in 1970

Chicago Bears running back and Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers has died at age 77 after recently battling dementia.

Despite playing just seven seasons due to knee problems, the ‘Kansas Comet’ as he was known became one of the NFL’s marquee players of the 1960s, averaging 5 yards a carry for his career, twice leading the league in rushing, and ultimately becoming the youngest Hall of Fame inductee in 1977 at age 34.

‘All those who love the game of football mourn the loss of one of the greatest to ever play this game with the passing of Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers,’ Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker said in a statement. 

‘He was the very essence of a team player — quiet, unassuming and always ready to compliment a teammate for a key block. Gale was an extraordinary man who overcame a great deal of adversity during his NFL career and life.’

In addition to his bust at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, Sayers was also immortalized on screen, where he was portrayed by Billy Dee Williams in the 1971 made-for-TV movie ‘Brian’s Song.’

The tear-jerking film told the story of the unlikely friendship between the famously quiet Sayers and teammate Brian Piccolo, a boisterous fullback played by James Caan. Piccolo was diagnosed with terminal cancer after turning pro in 1965, which was also Sayers’s rookie season, and ultimately passed away in 1970. 

Gale Sayers carries the ball against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game circa 1965 at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan. Sayers played for the Bears from 1965-71

Gale Sayers carries the ball against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game circa 1965 at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan. Sayers played for the Bears from 1965-71

Gale Sayers arrives at the 12th Annual Harold Pump Foundation Gala at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on August 10, 2012 in Century City, California

Gale Sayers arrives at the 12th Annual Harold Pump Foundation Gala at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on August 10, 2012 in Century City, California

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