We have some very sad news to report today.
According to a message published on the twitter account belonging to San Francisco 49ers legend Dwight Clark, Clark has passed away due to complications caused by his battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a terrible disease more commonly known by it's acronym ALS. The message is believed to have been published by Clark's wife given the wording used and the fact that she signed it as Kelly Clark, understandably in these circumstances she is devastated.
Here is her message unedited and in full:
I’m heartbroken to tell you that today I lost my best friend and husband. He passed peacefully surrounded by many of the people he loved most. I am thankful for all of Dwight’s friends, teammates and 49ers fans who have sent their love during his battle with ALS. Kelly Clark.
Clark of course is best known as a two time Superbowl Champion as well as for the legendary catch he made during an NFC Championship game against the Dallas Cowboys that has long been refereed to as simply "The Catch." As a result of his heroics Clark was credited as one of the key components in jump starting the 49ers dynasty.
The San Francisco 49ers organization also released a statement on Monday.
"The San Francisco 49ers family has suffered a tremendous loss today with the passing of Dwight Clark," said the team via their statement.. "We extend our condolences and prayers to Dwight's wife, Kelly, his family, friends and fans, as we join together to mourn the death of one the most beloved figures in 49ers history. For almost four decades, he served as a charismatic ambassador for our team and the Bay Area. Dwight's personality and his sense of humor endeared him to everyone he came into contact with, even during his most trying times. The strength, perseverance and grace with which he battled ALS will long serve as an inspiration to so many. Dwight will always carry a special place in our hearts and his legacy will live on as we continue to battle this terrible disease."
Several high profile members of the National Football League community have come out and also expressed their sadness at the passing of one of the NFL's legends. Here is a particularly lovely message from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady who recalled where he was at the time of Clark's most iconic moment.
"Dwight Clark was one of my idols growing up in San Mateo. I was lucky enough to be at the game where my hero Joe Montana perfectly placed the game winning throw/catch to Dwight in the corner of the end zone to beat the cowboys in the 1981 season. I was 4 years old and cried to my parents the entire first half because I couldn’t see the field when the grown ups would stand and scream for the 49ers. I got a chance to meet him when we happened to share the same orthodontist in San Mateo and I sabotaged one of his visits just to meet him and shake his hand. He was incredibly gracious to me that day as a young boy. And I never forgot the impact he made on me as all of our heroes do. I am sad tonight hearing of his passing of ALS but I know he is now resting and at peace finally after many years valiantly fighting such a terrible disease. Thank you for the great memories and RIP!"
Dwight Clark was just 61 years old. Our thoughts go out to the Clark family in this most difficult of times.