49ers Mourn Receiver Who Made 'The Catch'

Dwight Clark, who was behind one of NFL's greatest plays, dies at age 61 after ALS battle
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2018 7:41 AM CDT
NFL Player Who Made 'the Catch' Dead at 61
In this Jan. 10, 1982, file photo, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dwight Clark makes "The Catch," a pass from Joe Montana that tied the game late in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC championship game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.   (Phil Huber/The Dallas Morning News via AP, File)

An ex-NFL player known for a play that pushed the San Francisco 49ers into a championship run in the '80s died Monday at the age of 61 after a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, per ESPN. "I'm heartbroken to tell you that today I lost my best friend and husband," Dwight Clark's wife, Kelly, wrote on his Twitter page. "He passed peacefully surrounded by many of the people he loved most." Clark, who passed away at his Montana home, had been diagnosed with ALS, aka Lou Gehrig's disease, in late 2015 after his left hand began to feel weak. The weakness had since spread throughout his body and he had dropped a lot of weight before his death.

The play that will forever be attached to his name, per NFL.com: "The Catch," which he pulled off for the 49ers during the 1981 NFC championship game against the Dallas Cowboys in Candlestick Park. With less than a minute left to play and trailing the Cowboys 21-27, Clark leaped into the air on the edge of the end zone to pull down a ball thrown by quarterback Joe Montana, scoring the game-winning touchdown and sending the 49ers to their first Super Bowl victory, per Fox News. "The San Francisco 49ers family has suffered a tremendous loss," the team said in a statement on Clark's death. He's survived by his wife and three children from a previous marriage. (Read more obituary stories.)

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