Former Detroit Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras passed away early Wednesday morning. He had been dealing with kidney failure, and he had also been battling dementia, heart disease and cancer in recent years. He was recently released from a California hospital to spend his final days with his family, and he died at the age of 77 on Wednesday.
Karras was a part of the Lions' famed "Fearsome Foursome" defensive line. He played for the team from 1958-1962 and 1964-1970. He was named to the Pro Bowl four times and was one of the NFL's top defensive linemen in the 1960s.
After football, Karras went on to become an announcer for Monday Night Football, and he also became an actor, known best for his roles in Webster and Blazing Saddles.
The Lions released the following statement on Karras' death on Wednesday:
"On behalf of the William Clay Ford Family and the entire Detroit Lions organization, we extend our deepest sympathies to Susan, the Karras Family and to all of Alex's friends and fans across the country," Lions President Tom Lewand said. "While his legacy reached far beyond the gridiron, we always will fondly remember Alex as one of our own and also as one of the best to ever wear the Honolulu Blue and Silver."
Many people have shared their thoughts on Karras with him passing, including Jim Schwartz and Barry Sanders.
Schwartz on Alex Karras: "the city of Detroit was fortunate to have him play here."— Lions RapidReports (@CBSLions) October 10, 2012
I'd like to send my condolences to the family and friends of Alex Karras. May the great Lion rest in peace.— Barry Sanders (@BarrySanders) October 10, 2012
Rest in peace, Mr. Karras.