Tuesday, September 7, 2021

R.I.P.: Tunch Ilkin, NFL Steelers Broadcaster

Tunch Ilkin
Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle and longtime broadcaster Tunch Ilkin died Saturday, the team confirmed. 

He was 63, reports ESPN.

Ilkin, who revealed that he had been diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) in October 2020, was hospitalized recently with pneumonia.

He announced in June that he was retiring from his Steelers broadcasting duties to focus on his treatment.

A two-time Pro Bowl lineman, Ilkin was announced as part of a four-member 2021 class to be inducted in the Steelers' Hall of Honor later this year.

"We are heartbroken by the passing of Tunch Ilkin. He was a man of faith who dedicated his entire life to being a devout Christian and family man," Steelers president Art Rooney II said in a statement. "His passion for the game of football was evident in his every day life. As a player, he fought his way through tough times of being cut and injured, but continued to make an impact as a leader of our offensive line and made two Pro Bowls."

Ilkin played for the Steelers 1980-92 and later rejoined the team in the broadcast booth for 23 years as a color analyst.

"Today we lost an incredible man with the passing of Tunch Ilkin," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin tweeted. "Tunch was special, someone who impacted everyone he came in contact with, myself included. He loved his family, lived his faith, and serving others was his passion. My prayers go out to his family."

After Ilkin's ALS diagnosis, the city of Pittsburgh recognized Dec. 21, 2020, as Tunch Ilkin Day.

Ilkin is survived by his wife, Karen, and children Tanner, Natalie and Clay from his marriage to his first wife, Sharon, who died in 2012 after years of living with breast cancer.

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