Former 49ers great Dwight Clark died on Monday, his wife announced, following a long battle with ALS.
Clark, who had been battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) since he first began feeling weakness in his left hand in September of 2015, was 61 years old.
Clark’s wife, Kelly, shared the news of her husband’s death via his Twitter account.
I’m heartbroken to tell you that today I lost my best friend and husband. He passed peacefully surrounded by many of the people he loved most. I am thankful for all of Dwight’s friends, teammates and 49ers fans who have sent their love during his battle with ALS. Kelly Clark.
— Dwight Clark (@DwightC87) June 4, 2018
The San Francisco 49ers released a statement after the news broke on Tuesday:
“The San Francisco 49ers family has suffered a tremendous loss today with the passing of Dwight Clark. We extend our condolences and prayers to Dwight’s wife, Kelly, his family, friends and fans, as we join together to mourn the death of one of the most beloved figures in 49ers history. For almost four decades, he served as a charismatic ambassador for our team and the Bay Area. Dwight’s personality and his sense of humor endeared him to everyone he came into contact with, even during his most trying times. The strength, perseverance and grace with which he battled ALS will long serve as an inspiration to so many. Dwight will always carry a special place in our hearts and his legacy will live on as we continue to battle this terrible disease.”
The 49ers held “Dwight Clark Day” last season at an Oct. 22 game against the Dallas Cowboys in what would be his final public appearance in front of a large group of 49ers fans. Clark addressed the crowd, ownership, his family and more than 40 teammates from a Levi’s Stadium suite. That day, he said he simply wanted one more chance to be around the team he loved.
“When Keena Turner [San Francisco’s vice president of football affairs] asked me what I wanted to do, whether raise money or have some kind of function, I said I just want to see my teammates,” Clark said that day. “And the 49ers heard that and flew all these players in so I could see them one more time.”