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article imageGordie Howe, the sport's beloved 'Mr. Hockey,' dies at 88

By Nathan Salant     Jun 11, 2016 in Sports
Detroit - Detroit's Gordie Howe, a young Saskatchewan farmer who left rural Canada to become one of the best ice hockey players of all time, died Friday at the home of one of his sons in the United States.
He was 88.
Howe won six Most Valuable Player awards and six National Hockey League scoring titles during his long career, which continued into his 50s, but is arguably best known for bringing a well-known sport in Canada to prominence in the United States.
"When Gordie came into the NHL, hockey was a Canadian game," former league president Clarence Campbell said in 1971, according to the Associated Press.
"He converted it into a North American game," Campbell said.
Howe played for the Detroit Red Wings for 25 years, winning four Stanley Cups, before his first retirement in 1971, and came to be known as "Mr. Hockey," Campbell said.
He died peacefully on Friday at the Sylvania, Ohio, home of Murry Howe surrounded by family members, the AP said.
"Mr Hockey left peacefully, beautifully, and with no regrets," Murray Howe told the AP in a text message that added that Gordie Howe died of "old age."
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Howe held league records for goals and points for years until they were broken by Wayne Gretzky in 1999.
Gretzky, who wore uniform number "99" as a tribute to Howe, who wore "9," saluted Howe in honor of his death.
"Unfortunately we lost the greatest hockey player ever today, but more importantly the nicest man I have ever met," he said on the social media website Twitter.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman called him "incomparable" in a media statement.
"Gordie's commitment to winning was matched only by his commitment to his teammates, to his friends, to the Red Wings, to the city of Detroit and — above all — to his family," Bettman said.
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland called Howe "one of the greatest players, if not the greatest," in NHL history.
"He loved to be around people and to make them laugh," Holland said.
"He was an incredible ambassador for the sport," he said.
Howe had been in declining health since shortly before his wife, Colleen, died in 2009, the AP said.
Howe suffered two strokes in late 2014 after enduring chronic back pain for years, the AP said.
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