The NFL lost a legend when Tom Dempsey passed away late Saturday night due to complications stemming from his battle with COVID-19. He was 73 years of age.
Dempsey’s family shared the news of his death (via NOLA.com).
The hardest part was that Dempsey was under quarantine and the family was unable to be with him during his last hours. Thankfully, he and his family communicated via video chat during his final days.
“We didn’t want him to think we had abandoned him,” she said. “We wanted him to know we still loved him — always.”
After the news of Dempsey’s passing, the New Orleans Saints issued a statement of support to his family.
“Our thoughts and prayers are extended to Carlene and the entire Dempsey family on the passing of their dear Tom. 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. 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. He holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Saints family.”
The legendary kicker overcame incredible odds to become an NFL icon. He was born without fingers on his right hand and without half a foot. Despite that, he became famous for his 63-yard boot (a record at the time) to beat the Detroit Lions at Tulane Stadium on Nov. 8, 1970 — an NFL record that stood until Matt Prater broke it in 2013.
The news of his passing hit the NFL community hard.
May he rest in peace.