Syracuse legend and NFL Hall of Famer Floyd Little has passed away at age 78, his son announced on Twitter Saturday afternoon.
"Floyd Little embodied what it means to be Orange," Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud said in a statement. "He was an All-American student-athlete. He set records in the NFL. He achieved success in the business world. Floyd mentored countless student-athletes, and dedicated his time, energy and resources to improving the lives of others. He was a great friend, to me and to his beloved Syracuse University. Our hears are with his wife Deborah, and all who loved him. Floyd Little, number 44, will forever be our Orange MVP."
A release from the Little family stated the following:
"After nearly a year of confronting, even battling cancer, the beloved hero, brother, uncle, grandfather, father and husband, Pro Football Hall of Famer, Denver Bronco, and Syracuse #44 Legend, Floyd D. Little ran his last mile, gracefully bowed his head, and met his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
"Floyd Little passed away early in the evening on January 1, 2021 at home in Las Vegas with his wife DeBorah Little at his side. Little, born in Waterbury, Connecticut, was 78.
"The family extends their gratitude to all who have supported Floyd Little and his family during this time with prayers, calls, and your heartfelt expressions of love.
Memorial Services honoring the life of our beloved Floyd Little will be announced in the near future."
Jim Boeheim reacted to the news on Saturday as well in a tweet that said the following.
"I have lost a great friend and Syracuse University has lost one of its all-time greatest ambassadors," Boeheim said. "Floyd Little brought a smile to the face of everyone he encountered. Juli and I send our condolences to DeBorah and Floyd’s family."
Little entered Hospice care in November and has been battling cancer for nearly a year.
Little is one of Syracuse football's most iconic players. He helped bring make the number 44 one of the more hallowed in college football history. He was a three time All-American at Syracuse, rushing for 2,750 yards with 35 touchdowns in three seasons with the Orange averaging 5.4 yards per carry. He then spent nine seasons with the Denver Broncos, making five Pro Bowls and was named first team All-Pro in 1969. Little rushed for 6,323 yards with 43 touchdowns during his professional career. He added 2,418 receiving yards with nine more scores as well.
He has spent considerable time within Syracuse Athletics promoting the school and the football program. Little was one of the nice guys in sports, leaving a positive impression on everyone he met. Little was humble, kind and full of life. His passion for people, for life and for Syracuse will be deeply missed.