Dick Butkus, a former NFL player who is considered to be one the greatest linebackers of all time, has died, TMZ reported. He was 80 years old.
Sources told TMZ Sports that paramedics responded to a call for a medical emergency at Butkus’ residence in Malibu around 12:50 p.m. Thursday. Butkus was pronounced dead at the scene.
Butkus family confirmed the news in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Butkus was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1965 and spent his entire professional career with his hometown team. During his time in the NFL, he earned many accolades, including two awards for Defensive Player of the Year and playing in eight consecutive Pro Bowls, multiple media outets reported.
Butkus was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
The Chicago Bears organization also released a statement on Butkus’ passing.
“Dick was the ultimate Bear and one of the greatest players in NFL history,” the statement, posted on X, said.
“He was Chicago’s son. He exuded what our great city is about and, not coincidently, what George Halas looked for in a player: toughness, smarts, instincts, passion and leadership.”
Aside from his sports achievements, Butkus also had an acting career. He played himself in the -Emmy-winning 1971 telefilm “Brian’s Song” and had guests spots on such TV series as “McMillan & Wife,” “Police Story” and “Emergency!,” Deadline reported.