The man who made “The Catch,” which launched the 49ers’ Super Bowl years of glory, died of ALS on Monday.
Dwight Clark, who was 61, played nine years for the team, won two Super Bowl championships and was on the receiving end of the last-minute touchdown pass from Joe Montana that beat the Dallas Cowboys and sent the 49ers to their first Super Bowl in 1982.
Clark announced on Twitter in March of 2017 that he had ALS, and said he guessed playing football may have been the cause of the disease. He had been fighting it since September of 2016. Monday afternoon, his wife, Kelly Clark, announced on Twitter that he died at his home in Montana.
“He passed peacefully surrounded many of the people he loved most,” Kelly Clark wrote. “I am thankful for all of Dwight’s friends, teammates and 49ers fans who have sent their love during his battle with ALS.”
Shortly after Clark’s wife revealed the news of his death, the 49ers sent out a written statement: “The San Francisco 49ers family has suffered a tremendous loss today with the passing of Dwight Clark. We extend our condolences and prayers to Dwight’s wife, Kelly, his family, friends and fans, as we join together to mourn the death of one the most beloved figures in 49ers history.
“For almost four decades, he served as a charismatic ambassador for our team and the Bay Area. Dwight’s personality and his sense of humor endeared him to everyone he came into contact with, even during his most trying times. The strength, perseverance and grace with which he battled ALS will long serve as an inspiration to so many. Dwight will always carry a special place in our hearts and his legacy will live on as we continue to battle this terrible disease.”
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