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

To share your thoughts on the official guest book, check out the Official Twins Fan Guestbook.

Watch Mike Max’s sports report on Harmon Killebrew from WCCO-TV 4 News at 6

Mike Max

Comments (108)
  1. JaneR says:

    Class act, our prayers are with you and your family!

    1. Brian C says:

      Harmon provided many special memories in my life. I will always remember that great swing. As they said, “He looked good striking out”. We will miss you as a person Harmon. You have given so much to so many.

  2. Shannon says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Killer and his family during this time.

  3. Annie says:

    Very sad news – say I prayer for Harmon

  4. Bill says:

    Our prayers are with you and your family Harmon. God speed!

  5. Marcia says:

    You will always be my hero. May God help you on your journey. We will miss you but we have our memories.

  6. Lynette says:

    My heart goes out to Killer, his family, friends and the Twins organization. You are in my prayers.

  7. Cheryl says:

    Harmon you are the best! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  8. hoover says:

    This is so sad…you are the best!! Thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  9. Sue says:

    Harmon I am so sorry, you are still my favorite twin and always will be. You are in my thoughts and prayes, yes now family and friends are key to your final days.


  10. Beth says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with a great man, player, husband and friend to all that know Harmon. My our lives be forever blessed by such a wonderful person. We Love you Harmon.

  11. JLD says:

    You have fought the good fight and deserve your final days to be peaceful; I wish you’re family that same peace and I will pray for all of you.

  12. Tom says:

    A-1 class guy. He will be missed.

  13. Steve says:

    Harmon was every boy’s hero and we worshipped him when I was growing up in Minnesota. After retiring, he set the bar for community involvement. He never says a negative word about anyone. Harmon iis not just a superstar, he’s s truly great man!

  14. Sue says:

    Harmon how sad, you are still my favorite twin!! Be wih you famiy and friends now during this tough time!!


  15. Tom says:

    Say it ain’t so. Please! Say it ain’t so.

  16. Craig says:

    In tears now!
    What a sad day for us old Twins fans from the 60’s & 70’s
    I still to this day think he is and was the GREATEST player and best guy they ever had in the organization bar none!

    Prayers go out to the Killer and family.

    There should be a Killebrew year not just a day!

  17. Howie B says:

    Harmon – You were the face of the Twins for all the years you played here. You always were and continue to be a class act. Every professional athlete should model their behavior on and off the field by the examples you have set. My thoughts, prayers and thanks go to you and your family.

  18. SandyH says:

    I will always remember watching the Twins as a little girl because of Harmon. Thank you for those memories, Harmon. You and my late husband can teach the little ones in heaven how to swing the bat and run bases. Bless you!

  19. Charlie Boone says:

    Charlie Boone

    Harmon has always seemed like family. We are shocked and
    saddened. May he find peace and comfort in all the affection from
    fans everywhere for the great memories and his fine example.

  20. Debby says:

    Thank you Harmon for all the pleasure you brought many people during your days as a Twins player. We all hope this final time for you will be painless and you get to spend this time with family and friends.

  21. Sammi Olinger says:

    So sad. my eyes are welling with tears. Bless you harmon.

  22. Darcie says:

    Harmon you are the classiest act to every play ball for the MN Twins Organization. He are a hero to so many and will be so dearly missed but forever fondly remembered be all. God Bless.

  23. Jim M says:

    Harmon you were a great player! You always gave it your all, without the help of the steroids so many younger players unfortunately resort to! That was your true ability, not ability in a shot of something!

  24. God bless Killer! says:

    What a kind, brave, and compassionate person. God bless you, Harmon! We will remember you always. I look forward to watching you play ball again again. And hey, it’s heaven, so maybe I’ll even be able to play ball with you! I’d like that 🙂

  25. v says:

    Godspeed Harmon.
    Bask in peace knowing you brought so much joy and excitement to all.
    Heaven now has two cleanup hitters and they’ll share #3.

  26. Colleen says:

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers… Words cannot express how thankful I am for what you did in the name of the Twins and baseball for Minnesota. I will forever cherrish the picture I have of you with 2 of my boys!!!

    Total class act!!!!

  27. C says:

    I just lossed my MIL to liver cancer after a 1.5 year strong battle, it wasn’t easy. I pray for you and the loved ones you’ll leave behind. Cance is mean.

  28. Shawn Lynn says:

    You are the best and you will have MANY of us PRAYING for you and your family!!!!!!!!

    Hope you continue to have good spirits and that you, your family and friends find the comfort and have peace…… May God Bless You and your family……. Just you know that you will always be remembered by many Twins Fans…. Take care of you!!!!

  29. Heidi says:

    I am too young to have had the privilege to watch Harmon play, but have heard and seen so many great memories involving him and our Minnesota Twins. What a sad day in Minnesota- and what a heart-wrenching decision to make. From all of your Twins fans, you’re in our prayers, Killebrew family. May you experience peace and comfort during this time.

  30. Tom DeLeeuw says:

    Long Live #3. May God show you and your family blessings and mercy.

  31. BEV says:


  32. Kent says:

    Class..Nothing but Class

  33. Jim Mincher says:

    Harmon you were a great player! You always gave it your all, without the help of the steroids so many younger players unfortunely resort to! That was your true ability, not ability in a shot of something!


  34. lilgeneral21 says:


  35. Anne M LARSEN says:

    this is sad news take care and play ball in heaven

  36. Deb Lapinski says:

    Mr. Killebrew…I had a poster of you as a MN Twin on my bedroom wall growing up. I will always be a fan…
    God bless you and and your family. Thank you for all that you have done, and for the great example you have been. You are what everyone should strive to be–kind and gracious, humble and good.

  37. Deb says:

    I was raised near the stadium. Big night–Killebrew set one of his records. I waited for the crowds to go home, then late in the evening raced to the airport 24-hr post office with a rush package. As I passed by the old stadium, a car pulled out in back of me, followed me to the post office, and parked directly in back of me. My heart racing, I was ready to dart into the post office for safety. Heard a voice yell, “Your tail lights are out!!” It was Harmon Killebrew. What a class act. Thanks, and love ya!

  38. Susan K Maddern says:

    my heart goes oiut to harmon and his family,My prayers will be that he won’t have to suffer long and that he’ll be at peace and in heaven doing what he loved best playing ball!

  39. Jan from MN says:

    God’s peace and blessings to Harmon and his family.

  40. Jeff Lange says:

    Harmon – you are a true legend and a stand up human being. Thank you for representing MN with class and making us proud. God Bless!

  41. Kevin B says:

    Harmon, you are and will always be the greatest Twin of all time. The real hero you have been to so many both on and off the playing field will forever be remembered. My prayers go out to you and your family. God bless you #3!

  42. dex says:

    Godspeed Harmon!! You were immortal to me in the 60’s and in the minds of all Twins fans you still are. Heaven’s All-Stars are going to be a whole lot better!!

  43. red says:

    God Blessyou Harmon! In tears now as I type this note of love to you! A true legend, play ball forever!

  44. Andy from Woodbury says:

    Harmon, you proved to be the class act of baseball and also a class act in everyday life. May other major league players learn from you and how to be a good person. May God bless you and keep you.

  45. Janelle says:

    Mr Killebrew, if you want to try one more thing that the doctors don’t use, God can heal you if you want to keep on living. Not knowing if you know God as your Savior, He does still heal today. It wasn’t just in the past. So since I don’t know if you’re totally done fighting it or not, I’ll pray and ask God to heal you so that you can be cured. I also pray that if you don’t know God as your personal Savior, that in the time you have left that you will be able to ask Him to become your personal Savior and friend.

  46. Bob says:

    The world is a better place because of this man. He is what a great athlete should be both during and after his career. Total Class Act!!

  47. stace34 says:

    More that a great player, a great man. My thoughts and prayers are with Harmon, his family, friends and the Twins organization.

  48. Al says:

    How great it was to watch Harmon Killebrw play when I was a kid. If only today’s players had some of that class and determination.

    1. Ben says:

      Al, I totally agree with you on this. So many of today’s players, in all sports, could use a lesson from a professional veteran like this.

  49. PFred says:

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. You will always be remembered as a true great baseball legend and an amazing man. God Bless you and your famliy during this time of need! I pray you are not in pain and will be able to enjoy the remainder of your days in peace with your family and friends.

  50. Betty says:

    Harmon, you were a t rue hero. Our prayers are with you and your family. It’s a tough time, but family makes it easier. Our blessing on each of you. My husband is in heaven having died from pancreatic cancer. He’d love to see you again. You were one of our favorites

  51. Scott Miller says:

    I am so sad now. You were always my sports idol when I was a child and then as an adult I realized what a wonderful human being you are.


  52. Timm says:

    Almost feels like losing a family member. Truely a great player and a great man.

  53. nb0306 says:

    You have always brought a smile to my face. I have two boys who may not be old enough to have watched you play, but have grown to know what a truly remarkable person you are. You continue to show us all what class and dignity are – we would expect nothing else. May we join everyone in wishing our thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  54. Sherry says:

    I loved watching him play and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

  55. Gloria says:

    Harmon, My thoughts and prayers are with you, your family, friends, and the Twins. I grew up with the Twins playing on the radio or t.v. and my Dad’s rapt attention on the games. I am a baseball fan, and your great days as a ball player and total class act as a human being will always be remembered.

    God’s blessings, Harmon and Nita.

  56. Heidi says:

    It wasn’t just the little boys who idolized Harmon Killebrew. I think fondly back to my little girl days in the 60s, listening to the Twins’ games on my transistor radio in bed under the covers so my Mom and Dad wouldn’t know I was still awake. Harmon Killebrew was my hero then and is the same now. A man of integrity and kindness who was a true role model for kids. I am deeply saddened that we will lose him, but still I want to jump for joy in celebration of a life well-lived. Godspeed to you, Mr. Killebrew.

  57. Sarah Henke says:

    Mr. Killebrew –

    Thank you for the legacy of exceptionality that you have lived your life, played baseball and given to your community. Well done!

    My prayers go out to you that you are not in pain and that you are not afraid. I pray for your family and for them to have peace and strength as they are at your side. My greatest prayer is that you know Jesus Christ as your personal LORD and Savior! Without Him, we are all lost. Your acceptance of Him is critical to your guarantee of eternal life in heaven with God.

    Our life on earth is meaningless if we have not lived for Christ. Your baseball career was spectacular – my prayer is that you will also hear our LORD, Jesus Christ, welcome you with open arms and say “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

    Godspeed to you and your family – big hugs from all of Minnesota to a true legend!

    In Jesus’ Mighty Name –

  58. Laura of Bloomington says:

    Very sad news ..Harmon is” MY TWIN”.Great Player,Great Man…
    Prayers and thoughts to the family.

  59. wootieup says:

    So sad 🙁 74 is so young. It’s really sad that there are not enough advances in the medical field and that his options are exhausted. What a fine example of somebody living their life to the fullest while being a great example to others. Classy! I’m so sorry to hear of this Harmon!

  60. Jessica says:

    SAD 🙁 Harmon is and always will be one of the best TWINS

  61. Joseph says:

    Even though we all have to go one day, this news really bummed me out. Always tough to get to the end, but he’s doing it with dignity. God bless him.

  62. Goob says:

    Me and my brother used to argue over who was gonna be Harmon and who was gonna be Bob Alison when playing ball outside. Tell the big guy that the Twins could use a little help Harmon!! God bless you and yours..

  63. Steve Borsch says:

    As a kid we could rarely afford to go to the Met but my Dad would somehow get tickets at least 2-3 times per season. When you were up, I remember always expecting the ball to fly out of the park and its cover to come off as it burned up on re-entry.

    It took awhile before I separated fantasy from reality, but the memories you gave us fans we’ll never forget and the wood you put behind the ball was always amazing.

    You also signed a baseball I had when I was 10 years old when the team came home from an away game. So did several of your teammates but yours was legible! I cherished that ball for years and then decided MY name needed to be on that ball right next to yours. I can chuckle about that now, but I sure wish I still had it (once it was “defaced” by my autograph, we used it in our games down at our sandlot).

    Godspeed on the next phase of your adventure Mr. Killebrew.

  64. wondering says:

    I remember well when Harmon and the Twins came to the Twin Cities..there large as life was Harmon’s pictrue on the cover of the the Star Tribune’s Sunday feature segment..may have been the parade. I was a young girl, but Harmon made me a fan. In all his years, never any scandal, just pure talent and class. I pray what lies ahead for him will give him every opportunity to finish his life with the same class and dignity that he lived it.

  65. Mary says:

    I grew up watching Harmon play at Met Stadium. He is and always will be the “Ultimate Homerun King”. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.

  66. Kim says:

    How sad, My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family and friends. God Bless you!

  67. Sue says:

    Harmon, you are the best in Twins history and class act all around, we are going to miss you but your memories will live on. God bless you and your family and my prayers are with you.

  68. Mary Ann Mayhew says:

    My prayers to you and your family–you will aways be a class act where ever you are. God’s Blessings this day and always.

  69. Ben says:

    Harmon is ALL CLASS. He didn’t need performance-enhancing drugs to hit all those home runs. Not many people know this, but he even stole a lot of bases during Billy Martin’s one-year tenure as manager of the Twins. Harmon is a class act, both as a person and a ballplayer. My hearts go out to his family during this difficult time. It certainly is a sad day for Twins fans today.

  70. Dale Bowers says:

    Harmon and Family. Thank you for the gift you all shared with Twins fans. My thoughts and prayers are with you all in this difficult time. May the love of God be with each of you.

  71. Marie says:

    Dear Harmon,
    You will always be among the best of the best. If only baseball was like it
    used to be, The love of the game,not the money. You are truly a legend!!!
    God Bless you

  72. Diane Schlicht says:

    So sorry to see this happening so quickly. We loved watching the “killer” smash them out of Met Stadium. In these past years, we have enjoyed his easy going happy face at the ballpark and spring training.

    Our prayers go out to you Harmon, and your family.

  73. Polly says:

    A high-class role model and ambassador to baseball, competition, and life. A name associated with greatness, a handsome man with a contageous smile, and a talent that boys and girls everywhere could only hope to emulate one day.

    Thank you, Mr. Killebrew, for all you have been and will continue to represent – both on the field and off. We wish you peace and comfort during your last days on this earth. Thank you Mrs. Killebrew and family, for sharing your husband and father with the Senators, the Twins, KC, and fans everywhere. He may have been “Son,” “Husband,” or “Dad” to you – all equally important roles to play in and of themselves – but he will always be considered one of the All-Time Greatest men in baseball’s history to the rest of the world.

    Godspeed #3, Godspeed…

  74. Kim Scott Hollingsworth says:

    The Hal Scott Family & Ray Scott Family-Your in a League of your own Harmon- just saying your name brings back many memories with my Dad and Uncle talking so highly of you and growing up with you playing at the Met- brings back such great memories-Uncle Ray, Halzie Hall, Herb G- announcing your every hit with such excitment-brings a tear to my eyes-and my Dad (who just pased away in Sept 2010 Hal Scott) – talking about you on his evening sports-he always said Harmon is one of the Classic Guy’s Around , A True Gentleman, and a Legend in MN Your in our Thoughts and Prayers-God Bless the Man you Are and the Memories you have Given every Minnesotan Sport Lover

  75. Mark in Golden Valley says:

    My favorite baseball bat growing up as a youngster was the small wooden souvenir bat I was given that had the name “Harmon Killebrew” etched in it.

    I would pitch up into the air small pebbles and slam “home runs” with them, imagining I was wearing a #3 Twins jersey.

    Thanks Harmon for the the memories you gave us on the field, and for being the good person you were when off of it.

  76. Nancy says:

    Courage, dignity and class. That is Harmon Killebrew. Thoughts and prayer are with you and your family.

  77. Tea #3 says:

    #3 is the ONLY Twin’s Jersey I own!

    Keep fightin’ Killer! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family!

  78. Ann says:

    You have been by hero since I was a little girl !! I had my picture taken with you at the old Met in the late 60’s. I had the picture framed and a few years ago was lucky enough to get you to sign it with your beautiful autograph. I will always cherish that and will continue to proudly wear your #3 jersey. You are the greates Twin ever! Thank you for all the thrills you gave the fans and for demonstrating that a great player can also be a great man and role model !!!

  79. greg johnson says:

    Best wishes for you and your family, as others have said you are one class act. Thanks for all the momories. God Bless

  80. Dave says:

    For those of us over 50 we ALL looked at Harmon as the face of the Twins. He was to the Twins (#3) in the 60’s what Joe (#7) is today. I remember as a young baseball player myself trying to look like “The Killer” in the bater’s box. He was a role model as how the game should be played as well. Don’t show boat, but just do your job and what is best for the team. He definately was the man of few words who cared a big stick. His baseball bat. Harmon we LOVE YOU and my the grace of God be with you and your family.

  81. MLB says:

    Harmon – you are the role model that every major league athlete should follow! God bless!

  82. Maggie says:

    I grew up in Superior, WI and my Father listened on the radio as the Twins played. He rooted you on. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever get to a Major league game of the Twins back them more less ever meet you. I met you once at a suite at the Dome where you came by and said Hello to a bunch of Hardware people. You were all smiles and very friendly to us all. Thank you for being so gracious. You gave up time with your family and dear friends to say hi to us, a bunch of fans. So Kind. Like they have said before you HAVE touched lives; you have touched mine…in my wildest dreams. Thanks
    Mr. Killebrew….God Bless you and your family.

  83. God Bless you Harmen says:

    About 8 years ago I stood in line at Twins Fest to have him autograph a ball I bought. Kirby was there too zipping them out in seconds, It took Harmen some time to sign it but it was worth it. Prayers to him and his family.

  84. EGH52 says:

    I can’t tell you how many home runs I hit in my yard growing up imagining I was Harmon, winning the game by hitting a towering home run. My memories and thoughts go out to you and your families Harmon…………..real and imagined.

  85. James says:

    You are a brave man, a GREAT ball player, and I’m in the mood for some Killebrew Root Beer. Thank you for sharing your gift. It’s nice to read such loving tributes for you, and I hope you see them too.

  86. Dan says:

    For those of us who grew up listening to the Twins in the ’60’s, Harmon will ALWAYS define the ball club for us. What a career and what a great man! Thanks Harmon – your legacy will endure!

  87. Richard in Minneapolis says:

    Would burial under Target field be inappropriate? I’m serious. Bury him under first base so he can keep an eye on it. Sigh… We’ll miss ya Killer.

  88. Bill says:

    Harmon was the greatest Twin I ever saw. I am extremely blessed as Harmon stopped his car and chatted with us at srping training this year. As nervous as could be and with a racing heart I was able to tell him how much I enjoyed seeing him play at the old Met and that he was by boyhood hero. He thanked me and asked me several questions. I knew he was a great man and I got to see how down to earth he was. The current Twins players should be honored that they were able to learn from you. May your last days be peaceful and many.

  89. Sue says:

    As I sipped by Killebrew Root Beer at Target Field the other day, I thought of Harmon and all the wonderful memories I have of him and the Twins players of the 60s and 70s at Met Stadium. That’s where my dad took my sisters and me for games, we learned how to score and learned to love the game of baseball. Harmon, you are such a big part of the reason I love baseball 50 years later and #3 will live in the hearts of Twins and baseball fans forever. You are loved and will be deeply missed. God Bless You and Your Family Always!

  90. Holly says:

    I watched and cheered for you since I was a kid and I’m cheering for you now. All the best and prayers for you and your family.

  91. david says:

    thank you KILLER

  92. Jim G. says:


    When I think of you I see a warm smile and such a friendly demeanor. You might be the epitome of someone that spoke softly, but carried a large stick. I’ve saved a large poster to this day that my grandmother gave me when I was a boy and I cherish it to this day.

    I was born in 1970, so I don’t remember watching you play but I’ve seen enough highlights and heard enough glowing remarks to know how much of an impact you made in baseball and in life.

    You were my grandmother’s favorite Twin, so by that token alone you’ve earned great respect from me.

    My prayers go out to you and your family and my hope is that you pass with complete peace and that you’ll be able to reach out to those closest to you in your final days.

    We love you Harmon and say “hi” to Kirby for us if you could. Another big smile is waiting to welcome you in a place most of us will also call home someday!

    May God bring peace to you and to all you’ve touched!!

  93. shannon says:

    This is truly a sad day in Minnesota with the news of Harmon. Now he will rest in peace and be heaven where he won’t hurt and suffer no more. I pray for you Harmon and your family and you will be missed by all of Minnesota.

  94. susan says:

    Met Harmon at Twins Fest some years ago. What a genuine polite person . . You have been a great part of the Twins organization and a big part of our lives. Love ya Harmon and God Bless!

  95. RICK says:

    Harmon, I remember you going back to the days of the old Washington Senators and the baseball cards I had of you back in the late 50s and early 60s. I also remember the tape measure home runs on television you used to hit at the Met off the Angels pitchers. (I live in Los Angeles,CA) You truly were one of the greatest players I ever saw. God bless you and your family. I will pray for you and your family. God Speed, have a safe journey to Heaven, Jesus and God are waiting with a #3 uniform for you to suit up and start playing. Will miss you so much but you’ll never, never be forgotten!

  96. Dony says:

    A class act and true sportsman, I grew up listening on ‘CCO to Herb and Halsey, and Ray, calling out your homeruns, Sweet memories, God bless you and your family, Our prayers are with you.

  97. Kerry Nelson says:

    Harmon—- The news hit hard today and it was the same for two of my close friends. You, Harmon, remind all of us of our childhood, our dads who are no longer with us, playing baseball with our brothers and the “good old days” of baseball. A great baseball player for sure and an even better person. Your memory will love on forever. Thank you so much for all you have meant to so many people.

  98. Delbert L. Wertz says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Killebrew and his family. I loved watching Harmon play and still enjoy the games.

  99. Sonia Torres says:

    Sonia D. Torres
    I never mat Mr. Killebrew but I hear about him, So my thoughts and prayers are with Mr Killebrew and his family. May God Bless You All.

  100. Alan says:

    I was always a big Yankee fan and I always enjoyed watching them play the twins because of Harmon Killebrew. One of the greatest power hitters of all time. I have an autographed photo of Harmon and I will always cherish it. Thanks for all the great baseball memories Harmon, and thanks for being such a claas guy.

    Love & Prayers