Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew says battle with cancer 'coming to an end'
Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew is 11th in career home runs with 573.
May 13th, 2011
05:57 PM ET

Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew says battle with cancer 'coming to an end'

Baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew said Friday he is ending his treatment for esophageal cancer and entering hospice care.

"It is with profound sadness that I share with you that my continued battle with esophageal cancer is coming to an end," Killebrew, 74, said in a statement Friday, according to MLB.com.

Killebrew is 11th in career home runs, hitting 573 during his 22-year career with the Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins, according to MLB.com. He was diagnosed with cancer late last year

"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."

Killebrew, who has spent the past decade promoting hospice care and its benefits, said he is "very comfortable taking this next step and experiencing the compassionate care" of a hospice.

"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 was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984. He was the 1969 American League Most Valuable Player and an 11-time All-Star, playing in 13 games (two in 1959 and '61).


Filed under: Baseball • Health • Sports
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. verystrange

    A legend of the game from a time when the game mattered more than the paycheck or endorsement deal. I was a huge Tigers fan in those days, but I was also a fan of Mr. Killebrew, even when he was smashing a monster home run against my beloved team. You are a class act, Mr. Killebrew, and my thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family.

    May 14, 2011 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Linwood Peters

      I saw Harmon hit a line drive home run at least 10 rows deep to straightaway centerfield at the old Briggs Stadium in 1967 during a doubleheader against the Tigers. Longest HR I have ever seen, and I live in SF now and watched Barry Bonds hit many a home run. Killebrew had the most awesome natural power of anyone...even Mickey Mantle! He would hit high flyballs that just kept going and going. There has never been a classier act in the modern era than Killebrew.

      May 14, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. gkos24

    What a decision that he has made. I thank the Lord every day as I was diagnosed with EC at the age of 50. Through treatment, a very radical surgery and recovery I am cancer free today. I remember watching The Killebrew as a kid. What a stroke of the bat he had. May your field of dreams be lush. Rest in peace.

    May 14, 2011 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jim

    God bless and comfort you. What a wonderful player, man, and ambassador for baseball. You represented yourself and the Twin Cities so well for so long, this from a native Texan and lifelong Astros fan.

    May 14, 2011 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      A true class act. Someone that every man, woman and child could look up to. May God Bless You!

      May 14, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. Russ

    As a Yankee fan, I feared Killebrew. With one stroke of the bat, he could change the outcome of a game. I am sorry to hear that he has to experience this horrible cancer. Next time I'm in Cooperstown, I will be sure to pay homage to him.

    May 14, 2011 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  5. b. Slider

    May God bless this wonderful man and his family.

    May 14, 2011 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jose

    May Gods light shine on you Harmon! You are a class act. Peace be with you.

    May 14, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  7. idjit2442

    Just yesterday, I found that kidney cancer, which I thought I had beat, with more than 5 years in remission, has returned. Different kidney, as I had already lost one. I wish I had Mr. Killebrew's courage, to again fight this scourge to its inevitable conclusion, but I don't. I have decided to forgo another surgery, dialysis, & a protracted fight I can't win. Those who fight cancer to the end have more guts than most can imagine. I salute them as well as Mr. Killibrew.

    May 14, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Ginny L

      You ARE fighting cancer to the bitter end and in the same way as Mr. Killebrew did. Remember: he opted out of receiving any more useless treatment. It took courage for both of you to do make that decision. Hal, my husband, died last August and it was amazing how peaceful he became before morphine was necessary and he was basically comatose. But it's damn lonely to be left behind! Thank god I have a lot of good memories to elicit a smile every now and then.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Al Beritebak

    Yep, just sucking on that big, brown wad of garbage in your mouth. What did you expect would happen? @idjit2442: don't confuse courage with fear of dying. That's all it is, just call it what it is. Next you'll be calling them "hee-roes".

    May 14, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Barb Thompson

      It is a mistake to believe that courage involves a lack of fear. Courage is taking action when you are most fearful. Your comments are unwarranted and unwelcome. As a lifelong Minnesotan and Twins fan, I have only the highest respect for the man Harmon Killebrew is and will be remembered as. I saw him many times at the old Met Stadium and he is someone Minnesotans can always be proud to have had represent us to the world.

      May 15, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ginny L

      I'm with you, Barb. Mr. Beritebak's comments are tacky, to say the least.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rick Alexander

    Mr. Killebrew was a man's man. Todays players would have no idea how to play the great game of baseball like this man. I miss these days of baseball. May God continue to bless you and give you peace.

    May 14, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. shortstop

    Dear Mr. Killebrew, I address you accordingly, because you have always had my greatest respect; for you were an athlete that earned that right from everyone that appreciated the way you played; in addtion, you set forth a marvelous example for the youth to emulate; you carried yourself with dignity, respect and pride. I know, for I was one that recognized this all the way from the Bronx, New York. Thank you for being the person you are and all you shared with us kids, we were very fortunate.

    May 14, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. Bob

    Mr. Killebrew, I was at the game when you crushed a ball that sailed over the screen on top of the Green Monster, next to last day of the 1967 season (tied Yaz for 44 HR's). I bet that ball cleared the Mass Pike too. You were and are a wonderful role model. God Bless You!

    May 14, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  12. james

    opponent pitchers feared his power,fans loved it with equal acclaim,a true hall of fame member,
    the name Harmon Killebrew will never be forgotten in the annuals of baseball history,god bless
    Harmon and his loved ones.

    May 14, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. mark

    As a young boy I remember watching Harmon Kilebrew hitting all those home runs. He seem so big and powerful in my memory. I am very sadden to have heard about Harmon's faith. you will be in my prayers and may God bless you.

    May 14, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nancy Brighteyes

    when i was 6 years old i was not interested in baseball what so ever let alone any other sports , then my dad took me tomy first baseball game and I got to meet Harmon Killabrew , and he said it was alot of fun and you got to meet alot of interesting people , i watched so eagerly at every ball he hit and was so amazed at how good he was and so nice to his fans , that was the best day I ever had . since then i watched the twins play when ever i could , my prayers go out to his family , Harmon rest in peace ,

    May 17, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
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