NFL football star and veteran sports broadcaster Frank Gifford has died at the age of 84, on the 9th of August 2015. “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”.
Born in Santa Monica, California, in 1930, Gifford attended the University of Southern California on a football scholarship and went pro after being selected 11th overall in the first round of the 1952 draft.
“Frank Gifford was an icon of the game, both as a Hall of Fame player for the Giants and Hall of Fame broadcaster for CBS and ABC,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “Frank’s talent and charisma on the field and on the air were important elements in the growth and popularity of the modern NFL.”
Gifford was the centerpiece of a Giants offense that went to five NFL title games in the 1950s and ’60s.
Beginning in 1971 he worked for ABC’s “Monday Night Football,” at first as a play-by-play announcer and then as an analyst. Gifford hosted “Wide World of Sports,” covered several Olympics – his call of Franz Klammer’s gold medal run in 1976 is considered a broadcasting masterpiece – and announced 588 consecutive NFL games for ABC, not even taking time off after the death of his mother shortly before a broadcast in 1986.
He experienced the highs and lows as an NFL player. Gifford fumbled twice early in the 1958 NFL championship game, both of which led to Baltimore Colts touchdowns, and later came up short on a critical third down. The Colts eventually won 23-17 in the league’s first overtime game.
The thrilling finish helped popularize the NFL and was dubbed “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” although not by Gifford.
The Giants used Gifford at running back, defensive back, and wide receiver and on special teams. He went to the Pro Bowl at three different positions.
His 5,434 yards receiving were a Giants record for 39 years, until Amani Toomer surpassed him in 2003. His jersey number, 16, was retired by the team in 2000.
Married to TODAY’s Kathie Lee Gifford since 1986, he had two children with Gifford, Cody and Cassidy, and also had three children, Jeff, Kyle and Victoria, from his first marriage with Maxine Avis Ewart.
His wife of nearly 30 years is still a host for NBC’s Today.
The couple met in 1982 on the set of Good Morning America and they maintained a four-year friendship before getting married in 1986 and having two children, Cody and Cassidy.
The family said in a statement released by NBC News: ‘It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved husband, father and friend, Frank Gifford.
When he wasn’t on the field, Gifford tried to put his movie-star good looks to use in Hollywood, appearing in about a dozen films, most notably the 1959 submarine movie Up Periscope.