NFL Hall of Famer Fred Dean, who played defensive end for the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers, has died. He was 68.
Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker announced the news of Dean's death in a statement on Wednesday.
"The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Fred Dean," Baker said. "He exemplified many of the values learned from this great game — commitment, integrity, courage — over the course of his life. Our thoughts and prayers are with Fred’s wife, Pam, and their entire family. We will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration for future generations. The Hall of Fame flag will be flown at half-staff in Fred’s memory.”
An official cause of death was not revealed. However, Dean's former 49ers teammate, Dwight Hicks, wrote on Facebook last week that Dean had been admitted to the hospital and was placed on a ventilator due to COVID-19, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
"I just learned that my 49er teammate Fred Dean was taken to the hospital and is on a ventilator in intensive care,” Hicks, 64, reportedly wrote. “I’m sending healing light to Fred, his wife Pam, and his family. I trust you all are taken [sic] this virus seriously. Be well and stay safe.”
A rep for Dean could not immediately be reached by PEOPLE.
Dean, a four-time Pro Bowler, and two-time All-Pro was drafted out of Louisiana Tech by the Chargers in 1975. He spent six seasons playing defensive end with San Diego.
In 1981, Dean joined the 49ers and helped lead the team to victory at Super Bowl XVI against the Cincinnati Bengals. Three years later, Dean and the 49ers won their second Super Bowl, defeating the Miami Dolphins.
Dean retired in 1985 after an 11-year NFL career. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008 and is also a member of the Louisiana Tech University Athletic Hall of Fame, the Chargers Hall of Fame, and the 49ers Hall of Fame.
He is survived by his wife Pam.
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