LOS ANGELES – Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown, “football’s greatest player” who would also make an impact as an actor and civil rights advocate, has died at the age of 87.
Brown’s family said he died peacefully at his house in Los Angeles Thursday evening, a spokesperson said, according to The Associated Press. His wife, Monique Brown, was by his side. No cause of death has been released.
Brown was the NFL’s Rookie of the Year in 1957 and the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1957, 1958 and 1965, according to the AP and Pro-Football-Reference.com. Playing in the NFL from 1957 to 1965, he retired as the NFL’s all-time leader in rushing yards (12,312) and touchdowns (126), according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.
Monique Brown released a statement on Brown’s Instagram page Friday afternoon.
“To the world, he was an activist, actor, and football star,” the Instagram post said. “To our family, he was a loving and wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. Our hearts are broken …”
Brown led the Cleveland Browns to their last NFL title in 1964 before he retired to take up acting, according to the AP. He appeared in more than 30 movies including “The Dirty Dozen,” and “Any Given Sunday.”
Brown was an eight-time All-Pro and went to the Pro Bowl in all nine of his seasons, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.
Since Brown retired, no other Browns player has worn his No. 32, according to ESPN.
Brown was a two-sport star at Syracuse University, excelling in football and lacrosse, according to the AP. He was an All-American in both sports and also lettered in basketball.
In the 1960s, Brown became a leader in the Black Power movement and remained a civil rights advocate, the AP reported.
He created the Amer-I-Can program in 1988 to help turn gang members from “destructive to productive members of society,” ESPN reported. The program was set up to help inner-city youth who were disadvantaged and ex-convicts in the hope of preventing gang violence, according to the AP.
Brown was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
The Cleveland Browns released a statement on Twitter following the news of Brown’s death.
“It’s impossible to describe the profound love and gratitude we feel for having the opportunity to be a small piece of Jim’s incredible life and legacy. We mourn his passing, but celebrate the indelible light he brought to the world,” the team said.
Jim Brown Forever 🧡🤎♾️
Legend. Leader. Activist. Visionary.
It’s impossible to describe the profound love and gratitude we feel for having the opportunity to be a small piece of Jim’s incredible life and legacy. We mourn his passing, but celebrate the indelible light he… pic.twitter.com/F2rrTUnsc1
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) May 19, 2023
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