Arnold Palmer, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest golfers in history, died Sunday afternoon at the age of 87, according Doc Griffin, the King’s spokesman and friend.
Griffin confirmed to ESPN that Palmer died at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian after struggling to overcome complications related to his heart.
The golfing legend was rushed to the hospital on Thursday for cardiovascular work.
“I’m just so heartbroken about it. As much as Arnold Palmer meant to the world, he meant that much and more to me,” said Griffin.
Palmer, who won seven majors during his career, is only one of three golfers in history to win the Masters on four separate occasions, besides two U.S. Open titles and one Open championship.
Arnold Palmer: Golfing legend
Even though Jack Nicklaus is regarded as the greatest ever, with Tiger Woods viewed as a close second, many analysts feel Palmer was the pioneer who paved the way for many future champions.
The United States Golf Association (USGA) released a statement on Sunday.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of Arnold Palmer, golf’s greatest ambassador. Arnold Palmer will always be a champion, in every sense of the word.
“He inspired generations to love golf by sharing his competitive spirit, displaying sportsmanship, caring for golfers and golf fans, and serving as a lifelong ambassador for the sport.”
Palmer, born in 1929, played his final major event during the 2004 Masters.
No other golfer managed to remain on the competitive circuit for 52 consecutive years. Even though Palmer never won a major title after the 1964 Masters, he remained competitive for five decades.
Palmer’s greatest accomplishment remains spearheading the growth of the Champions Tour that was specially started for players who are over the age of 50. He won the Tour on ten occasions and drew massive crowds.
In 2009, Arnold Palmer was honored with Congressional Gold Medal, the highest possible honor bestowed by the United States Congress.
The world is still reeling from Arnold Palmer’s loss. Here are the finest tweets: