Major League Baseball hero Hank Aaron died on Friday at the age of 86. The Hall of Famer shattered barriers and records, becoming one of the most prolific baseball players in history.
His cause of death is unknown but was confirmed by his daughter, according to WSBV-TV.
In 1974 as a member of the Atlanta Braves he made history, shattering the long-standing home run record held by Babe Ruth. Aaron struck a pitch dolled out by Los Angeles Dodgers Al Downing leading Aaron to break Ruth’s record of 714 home runs. The moment solidified his place in baseball history and further affirmed why he was affectionately called “Hammerin’ Hank.”
Off the diamond he was known as a champion of civil rights and recently stood with former NFL player Colin Kaepernick during his protest of the National Anthem. Muhammad Ali once said he idolized Aaron “more than myself.”
Born in Mobile, Alabama, on Feb. 5, 1934 during the Great Depression, Henry Louis Aaron was one of eight children born to Herbert and Estella Aaron.
At the age of 15 he tried out for the Brooklyn Dodgers. After the team decided to pass on Aaron he instead opted to return to school to finish his primary education. His return to baseball was made two years later when he was drafted to play for the negro leagues’ Indianapolis Clown’s organization at 17. Three years later he made his Major League debut as with the then-Milwaukee Braves, where he built his career for 23 years before being traded to the Atlanta Braves.
Aaron still holds a series of records, he remains baseball’s runs batted in leader with 2,297 and total base leader with 6,856. He retired from baseball in 1976 with 755 home runs, which stood until 2007 when Barry Bonds broke his record.
Both the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers retired Aaron’s #44 jersey in tribute. In 1982 Aaron was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. For his contributions to baseball Aaron was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002 by former President George W. Bush. He was also inducted as a Georgia Trustee by the Georgia Historical Society in 2010.
Across social media baseball fans and those who held Aaron in deep esteem shared their condolences over the loss.
NewsOne sends condolences to Aaron’s family, friends and fans at this difficult time.
This is a developing news story that will be updated as more information becomes readily available.