Frank Gifford, the NFL Hall-of-Famer and former sports broadcaster, passed away Sunday. He was 84.
The Gifford family released this statement after his passing:
“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.”
Gifford played running back, receiver and defensive back for the New York Giants in his NFL career, which spanned from 1952-1964. In 1956, he was named league MVP and led the Giants to an NFL championship.
He sat out the 1961 season after a suffering a head injury, but returned in 1962 and won Comeback Player of the Year.
Gifford was an eight-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro.
Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch both released statements on Gifford's passing.
"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," Mara said.
"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," Tisch said.
After retiring from football, Gifford became a sports broadcaster, most notably as a play-by-play announcer and color commentator on Monday Night Football from 1971 to 1997.
He is survived by his wife, Kathie Lee Gifford, and children.
GALLERY: CLASSIC PHOTOS OF FRANK GIFFORD