Harmon Killebrew, one of the most respected members of the 500 Home Run Club, says he has decided to end his battle against esophageal cancer and has entered hospice care.
The 74-year-old former Minnesota Twins slugger released the following statement:
"With the continued love and support of my wife, Nita, I have exhausted all options," Killebrew said. "I have spent the past decade of my life promoting hospice care and educating people on its benefits. I am very comfortable taking this next step and experiencing the compassionate care that hospice provides. I look forward to spending my final days in comfort and peace with Nita by my side."
Killebrew is 11th on baseball's all-time home run list with 573. He lives in the Phoenix area and was receiving treatment at a branch of the Mayo Clinic near there after his diagnosis in December.
Killebrew made 11 All-Star appearances during a 22-year career spent mostly with the Washington Senators and the Twins when they moved to Minnesota in 1961. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984 and was fifth on the career home run list when he retired in 1975 after one season with the Kansas City Royals.
Killebrew's eight seasons with 40 or more homers is tied for second in league history to Babe Ruth. He won the American League MVP award in 1969, when the Twins won their division and lost to the Baltimore Orioles in the AL championship series.
The 49 homers, 140 RBIs and 145 walks he compiled that season remain Twins records.