Family attorney: Cubs great Ernie Banks died of heart attack

CHICAGO (AP) Chicago Cubs great Ernie Banks died after a heart attack, an attorney representing the Hall of Famer's family said Sunday.

With Banks' widow standing nearby at a news conference at a downtown hotel, Mark Bogen said Banks had the heart attack Friday in Chicago and died later that day. He did not provide any other details.

''I want you to know that he was very beloved and he is going to be dearly missed by family, friends and all his fans,'' Liz Banks said.

The Cubs and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office announced that the statue of Banks that has stood outside Wrigley Field since 2008 will be placed in Chicago's Daley Plaza this week, remaining there from Wednesday morning through Saturday. The statue has long been a popular spot for fans to take photographs and after Banks' death many went to the ballpark to put flowers near it only to discover that the statue had been removed recently during the Wrigley field renovation project.

In news release, Emanuel and Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said placing the statue at Daley Plaza was a fitting way to allow fans to pay their respects.

''We are bringing the statue to Daley Plaza to honor not just one of the best ballplayers of all time, but a great man who made our city proud from the day we first met him in 1953'' when Banks broke into the major leagues, the mayor said.

Bogen said the family is still planning a funeral and that details would soon be released.

Banks spent his entire 19-year career with the Cubs. He hit 512 home runs, was twice voted the National League's Most Valuable Player, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. He was the team's first black player and is still considered the greatest Cubs player by many and the club's most beloved player.

That has been evident in the days since Banks' death. In tribute after tribute, people from around the city and the nation have praised Banks not just for his play, but for his remarkably sunny disposition during his career and in the years since he retired.

''Ernie Banks was a great player and an even better person,'' Ricketts said in a statement. ''He was a kind gentle man who loved his fans as much as they loved him.''

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