Dick Butkus Dies at 80
Dick Butkus, the iconic Pro Football Hall of Famer and Chicago Bears legend, has died. He was 80.
The Chicago Tribune confirmed Butkus died on Thursday (October 5) in his home in Malibu. TMZ reported paramedics were called to Butkus’ home “for a patient in cardiac arrest.” He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Butkus played in the NFL from 1965-1973. His entire career was spent with the Chicago Bears. The team issued a statement that reads, in part, “Dick was the ultimate Bear, and one of the greatest players in NFL history … Dick had a gruff manner, and maybe that kept some people from approaching him, but he actually had a soft touch.”
The Bears noted, ” … We are grateful he was able to be at our home opener this year to be celebrated one last time by his many fans.”
The sports world was quick to react. Sports journalist Jarrett Payton tweeted, “Dick Butkus wasn’t just one of the greatest football players to ever play the game, he was a remarkable man. He was always there for me when I needed him.” NFL analyst Jacob Infante tweeted, “Dick Butkus was the epitome of what a middle linebacker should be. He was the hardest-hitting and nastiest player every time he stepped on the field. RIP to one of the greatest #Bears, but also one of the best pure football players of all time.”
Journalist Sarah Spain tweeted “So sad to hear the news about Dick Butkus. He was just interviewed on the field during the season opener & was full of his usual feistiness, talking about kicking the Packers’ a–es. A legendary player, so funny & multi-talented. He’ll be so missed. Thoughts are with his family.”
Butkus began acting toward the end of his football career and during his retirement. Notably, he played Ed Klawicki on 27 episodes of My Two Dads between 1987-1989. He also played Coach Mike Katowinski for 52 episodes on Hang Time. Butkus’ other acting credits included 1971’s Brian’s Song, 1984’s Johnny Dangerously, 1991’s Necessary Roughness and The Last Boy Scout and 1999’s Any Given Sunday.