Hall of Fame Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus dies at 80

Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus, one of the greatest defensive players of all time, has died. He was 80.

The team announced Butkus’s passing on Thursday, via the release of a statement from the Butkus family.

Sep 23, 1973; Chicago, IL, USA; FILE PHOTO; Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus (51) on the sidelines during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

“The Butkus family confirms that football and entertainment legend Dick Butkus died peacefully in his sleep overnight at home in Malibu, California,” the statement reads.

“The Butkus family is gathering with Dick’s wife Helen. They appreciate your prayers and support. Additional information will be provided when it is available.”

The Chicago native, who went to Illinois, played for the Bears from 1965 through 1973. He was a two-time defensive player of the year and a five-time first-team All-Pro.

Butkus was elected to the NFL’s team of the 1960s, the team of the 1970s, the 75th anniversary team, and the 100th anniversary team.

Butkus became an actor following the completion of his football career, appearing in movies and on TV.

Dick Butkus is survived by his wife Helen and three children.

We extend our condolences to his family, friends, teammates, colleagues, and the entire Bears organization.