NFL legend Bart Starr dies at age 85

DETROIT - FEBRUARY 05: Former Green Bay Packers quarterback and MVP of Super Bowl I & II Bart Starr is seen on the field as he is introduced prior to Super Bowl XL between the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Ford Field on February 5, 2006 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Legendary NFL quarterback Bart Starr has died at the age of 85.

The Green Bay Packers announced the news Sunday. The team said Starr had been in failing health in recent years after suffering a serious stroke in 2014.

Starr, a Hall of Famer, played for the Packers from 1956 to 1971.

“Maybe the most popular player in Packers history, Starr will be eulogized for being a consummate professional, a Good Samaritan and an exemplary role model,” Packers historian Cliff Christi wrote of Starr.

Starr led the Packers to five NFL titles and was the hero of the famed “Ice Bowl” in which his quarterback sneak sealed the 1967 games at Lambeau Field. He was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977, his first year of eligibility. The Packers retired his No. 15 jersey in 1973. He served as the team’s head coach from 1975 through 1983.

Picked in the 17th round (200th overall) of the 1956 draft, Starr had an up-and-down college career at Alabama. He earned his first win as an NFL quarterback in his fourth season but was later benched before regaining the starting job and never looking back.

Starr’s family released a statement through the Packers:

“We are saddened to note the passing of our husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Bart Starr. He battled with courage and determination to transcend the serious stroke he suffered in September 2014, but his most recent illness was too much to overcome.

“While he may always be best known for his success as the Packers quarterback for 16 years, his true legacy will always be the respectful manner in which he treated every person he met, his humble demeanor, and his generous spirit.

“Our family wishes to thank the thousands of friends and fans who have enriched his life–and therefore our lives–for so many decades and especially during the past five years. Each letter, text, phone call, and personal visit inspired him and filled him with joy.

“His love for all of humanity is well known, and his affection toward the residents of Alabama and of Wisconsin filled him with gratitude. He had hoped to make one last trip to Green Bay to watch the Packers this fall, but he shall forever be there in spirit.”

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