Legendary athlete Gordie Howe, known affectionately as “Mr. Hockey,” died Friday morning in Ohio. He was 88.
The Detroit Red Wings, who he played with for 25 years, confirmed the news on Twitter.
“Thoughts and prayers to the Howe family as Gordie Howe passes away at the age of 88,” they tweeted.
“The Hockey Hall of Fame is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Gordie Howe. Mr. Hockey was a true legend,” the Hockey Hall of Fame tweeted.
The official NHL account re-tweeted both messages.
Howe played a record 1,767 games, scoring 801 goals during an NHL career that spanned four decades. He won four Stanley Cup titles with the Red Wings and earned the NHL’s most valuable player award six times. He also played 419 games in the World Hockey Association.
The Hall of Famer held the NHL’s goal-scoring record (801 goals) during his time with Detroit between 1946 and 1971 until Wayne Gretzky overtook him (894 goals).
In addition to the “Mr. Hockey” moniker, his name is also part of the sport’s jargon: “A Gordie Howe hat trick” is a goal, an assist and a fighting penalty in a single game.
He returned to the sport in 1973, two years after retiring, to play alongside his sons Marty and Mark on the Houston Aeros as part of the WHA. They then joined the New England Whalers, one of four WHA teams later absorbed by the NHL.
Howe retired for a second (and final) time at the age of 51 after playing for the Hartford Whalers in the 1979-80 season.
He suffered from several health problems over the last few years, including dementia, spinal surgery and strokes, after which he underwent stem cell treatment.
Howe is survived by his sons, Marty, Mark and Murray; his daughter, Cathy Purnell; nine grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and sister, Helen Cummine.