On Saturday morning, the football world learned that a beloved figure in the sport has passed away.
Tunch Ilkin, a longtime Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman, passed away this week, according to multiple reports. He was 63 years old.
Ilkin is a legendary figure to those in Pittsburgh. Steelers fans flocked to social media to share message for the longtime Steeler and then announcer following his playing career.
“Rest In Peace Tunch Ilkin,” one fan said. “What incredibly sad news. Just stops you in your tracks and makes you cry. But I also think of this measure: If you can live a life from beginning to end and no one has something negative to say about you, what a success. Tunch did that. Few do.”
Very sad news. A great man and a great friend to many, Tunch Ilkin, has passed away. Thoughts and prayers are with the Ilkin family
— Alby Oxenreiter (@albyox) September 4, 2021
Ilkin started his football career at Indiana State before the Steelers selected him in the sixth round of the 1980 NFL draft. He immediately made an impact on the team and made two Pro Bowls – in consecutive seasons in 1988 and 1989.
After an incredible career with the Steelers, he spent one season with the Green Bay Packers before retiring from the game following the 1993 season.
He wasn’t done with the game of football yet, though. He joined the Steelers broadcasting team as an analyst after his playing career was over.
Ilkin announced he was diagnosed with ALS in 2019 and retired from broadcasting to focus on his health this summer.
Our thoughts are with the Ilkin family.