Hall-of-Famer Harmon Killebrew Plans to Enter Hospice as Cancer Progresses

Baseball Hall of Fame member Harmon Killebrew says his almost five-month bout with esophageal cancer has “progressed beyond my doctors’ expectation of cure,” and that he will enter hospice care.

“It is with profound sadness that I share with you that my continued battle with esophageal cancer is coming to an end,” Killebrew, 74, said in a statement released by the Minnesota Twins. “With the continued love and support of my wife, Nita, I have exhausted all options with respect to controlling this awful disease.”

Killebrew, whose 573 home runs are the 11th most in Major League Baseball history, disclosed the diagnosis in late December. He was inducted into the Cooperstown, New York-based National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984 following a 22-year major-league career.

Killebrew said he had been promoting hospice care for the last decade. He disclosed his cancer diagnosis in December, saying he was facing “perhaps the most difficult battle of my life.”

“I am very comfortable taking this next step and experiencing the compassionate care that hospice provides,” he said. “I am comforted by the fact that I am surrounded by my family and friends.”

Killebrew, the 1969 American League Most Valuable Player, played 21 seasons for the Washington Senators and Twins, who moved to Minnesota for the 1961 season. He finished his career in 1975 with the Kansas City Royals.

Photographer: Hannah Foslien /Getty Images)

Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew. Close

Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.

Photographer: Hannah Foslien /Getty Images)

Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.

Killebrew played first base, third base and outfield. He led the AL in home runs six times, and had a .256 career batting average and 1,584 runs batted in.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at mlevinson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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