Iconic NFL kicker Tom Dempsey has died after battling COVID-19 (coronavirus). He was 73.
The New Orleans Saints legend, who was born without toes on his right foot and without fingers on his right hand, passed away due to complications from the novel virus on Saturday (April 4), just days after it was reported he’d tested positive for the disease amid the ongoing pandemic.
It’s unclear how Dempsey contracted the highly contagious virus, but TMZ reports he was living in a New Orleans retirement home where 15 patients had died from the disease. With more than 12,400 people infected, Louisiana has the fifth highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the nation as of Sunday morning (April 5).
"The New Orleans Saints family is deeply saddened and heartbroken at this most difficult time. Tom's life spoke directly to the power of the human spirit and exemplified his resolute determination to not allow setbacks to impede following his dreams and aspirations,” Dempsey’s former team wrote in a statement in light of his death. “He exemplified the same fight and fortitude in recent years as he battled valiantly against illnesses but never wavered and kept his trademark sense of humor."
In his life and career, the Wisconsin-born athlete is famously known for his unforgettable kick against the Detroit Lions in the ‘70s. Dempsey made history with a 63-yard field goal kick on November 8, 1970. The record would stand more than four decades until Denver Broncos' Matt Prater scored a 64-yard kick in 2013.
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