By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Harmon Killebrew’s statement on Friday that he was entering hospice care is a last gift to his fans.

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A generous superstar who never forgot that while his gifts got him to where he was, it is the fans who ultimately make professional sports possible. By sharing his decision to enter a hospice, he will no doubt influence others to follow suit.

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On a stint on WCCO-AM Friday, I heard from several hospice workers that there is still a mystery surrounding the wonderful care these facilities provide, and that Killebrew’s announcement could help change that.

I have met him several times, interviewed him a few others. He was the most approachable and modest of stars. I saw him more than once in the press box at the Metrodome, standing quietly in the back, chatting with Twins employees.

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In this age of the outsized, egotistical and outrageous sports superstar, Killebrew is the real deal. He’s a star for the ages to be admired for his accomplishments on and off the field, including his decision to share with his fans details of his final days.

Esme Murphy