Dick Butkus, an emblematic figure synonymous with the Chicago Bears' unyielding spirit and robust image, left an indelible legacy following his death earlier this year. As the NFL community mourns, details surrounding the circumstances of the death of the 80-year-old football virtuoso have emerged.
Butkus passed away on October 5, at his Malibu residence, leaving behind a legacy as rich as his history with the game. Recently released information from TMZ confirms the cause of Butkus's death was a stroke, citing the official Los Angeles Department of Health records.
The term "cerebrovascular accident" was noted as the primary cause on the late Hall of Famer's death certificate, with contributing factors including an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation, high cholesterol levels, and atherosclerosis.
Additionally, his medical history revealed a coronary bypass performed two decades prior.
Butkus: Beyond Football
The lineage of Butkus's influence stretched far beyond the playing field. Post-retirement, he enjoyed success on screen and as a commercial icon, reinforcing his status as a cultural figure and not just an athletic titan.
His passing, which his family stated occurred "peacefully in his sleep," came after his last public appearance supporting his beloved Bears at their season opener against historical rivals, the Green Bay Packers. Butkus's career, though truncated to nine seasons due to knee injuries, was nothing short of stellar.
An eight-time Pro Bowl selectee and five-time All-Pro, he set a Bears record with 27 fumble recoveries—a testament to his defensive prowess. Twice named NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Butkus's contribution to the sport has been immortalized through the Butkus Award, given annually to the top linebackers at various levels of the game.
In a heartfelt tribute, Chicago Bears Chairman George McCaskey honored Butkus's memory, stating, "He was the ultimate Bear, and one of the greatest players in NFL history." This sentiment echoes across the league, underscoring Butkus's monumental impact on and off the field.