Former New York Giants player Frank Gifford looks on before an NFL football game between the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos, Sept. 15, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J. 
Photo by Bill Kostroun/AP

NFL legend Frank Gifford passes away at 84

Former football player and veteran sports journalist Frank Gifford has died in Connecticut, his family announced on Sunday. He was 84.

In a statement, his family said:

It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved husband, father and friend, Frank Gifford. Frank died suddenly this beautiful Sunday morning of natural causes at his Connecticut home. We rejoice in the extraordinary life he was privileged to live, and we feel grateful and blessed to have been loved by such an amazing human being. We ask that our privacy be respected at this difficult time and we thank you for your prayers.

Born in Santa Monica in 1930, Gifford attended the University of Southern California on a football scholarship and went pro after being selected 11th overall in the first round of the 1952 draft.

Gifford played with the New York Giants his entire NFL career, from 1952 to 1964, with several visits to the Pro-Bowl. In 1956 he was league MVP and lead the team to a championship (before it was called “The Super Bowl”).

After his playing career ended, he became a sports commentator, first for CBS and then as a co-host of Monday Night Football from 1971 to 1985.

He married Kathie Lee Epstein, current TODAY show host, on October 18, 1986.

This story originally appeared on NBCNews.com

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NFL legend Frank Gifford passes away at 84