Reporting Mike Max
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) – Minnesota Twins legend Harmon Killebrew says his “battle with esophageal cancer is coming to an end” and he is going to enter hospice care.
The former Twins player had earlier been diagnosed with esophageal cancer last December.
The Minnesota Twins released a statement on Friday from the 74-year-old Killebrew in which he said, “I have exhausted all options with respect to controlling this awful disease. My illness has progressed beyond my doctors’ expectation of cure.”
“I am comforted by the fact that I am surrounded by my family and friends,” he said, thanking fans and well-wishers for their support and encouragement. “I look forward to spending my final days in comfort and peace with (wife) Nita by my side.”
Killebrew hit 573 home runs and made 11 All-Star appearances during his 22-year career spent mostly with the Washington Senators and Twins. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984 and was fifth on the career home run list when he retired in 1975 after one season with the Kansas City Royals.
Killebrew currently ranks 11th on the all-time homer list, and his eight seasons with 40 or more homers still is tied for second in league history to Babe Ruth.
Killebrew was able to travel to Fort Myers, Fla., for his annual stint as a guest instructor at spring training. He was in good spirits, quipping that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire gave him the OK to show up a little late.
Twins President Dave St. Peter said that “[Harmon's] amazingly upbeat and those who know Harmon probably wouldn’t be surprised by that.”
WCCO’s Chad and Sid Hartman Interview Dave St. Peter
Click here to read Esme Murphy’s blog on Harmon Killebrew
Click here for a photo gallery of Harmon Killebrew
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Watch Mike Max’s sports report on Harmon Killebrew from WCCO-TV 4 News at 6