Jan. 29 (UPI) — Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Chris Doleman has died after a battle with cancer. He was 58.
Doleman died Tuesday night. The longtime Minnesota Vikings defender underwent surgery in 2018 to remove a brain tumor and had been fighting glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer that can occur in the brain and spinal cord.
“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Chris Doleman after a prolonged and courageous battle against cancer,” Pro Football Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker said.
“I had the honor of getting to know him not only as a great football player but an outstanding human being. One of the honors of my life was witnessing Chris get baptized in the Jordan River during a Hall of Fame trip to Israel.
“The legacy of Chris Doleman will live forever in Canton, Ohio, for generations to learn from how he lived a life of courage and character.”
The eight-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro was the No. 4 overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft. Doleman played for the Vikings until joining the Atlanta Falcons in 1994. He played for the San Francisco 49ers from 1996 through 1998 before returning to the Vikings for his final season in 1999. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
Doleman retired with 150.5 sacks and recorded an NFL-high 22 sacks in 1989.
“The Minnesota Vikings express our deepest sympathies to Chris Doleman’s family and friends upon his passing,” the Vikings said in a statement. “Chris was a great example for players past and present, as he embodied all the best characteristics of a Viking — resilience, toughness and a competitive spirit. Chris always carried himself with dignity and class. Vikings fans worldwide will greatly miss him.”