Chicago Cubs great and longtime WGN Radio announcer Ron Santo died Thursday night of complications from bladder cancer. He was 70.
In a statement Friday, Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts praised Santo for "his passion, his loyalty, high great personal courage and his tremendous sense of humor."
WGN reports that Santo died in an Arizona hospital from complications of bladder cancer. Santo was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 18 and later lost both legs to diabetes.
Santo was a nine-time all-star in his 15-year career. The third baseman was widely regarded as one of the best players never to gain induction into the Hall of Fame. He ended his career with 342 home runs, more than 1,300 RBIs and a .277 batting average.
Ricketts says that Santo will always be "the heart and soul of Cubs fans" and the team plans to celebrate his contributions in the days ahead.
Santo is being remembered for his fight against diabetes. Patrick Reedy heads the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in Illinois. He said Santo has been the face of the organization for three decades.
"Diabetes is a very insidious disease and it's easy to become disheartened because of the impact that it has on somebody's everyday life and so Ron's smile and his kind words that he shared with people along the way truly helped," Reedy said.
Santo held an annual walk in Chicago to raise money to fight diabetes. About 40,000 people participated in the walk this year. The Chicago Cubs say Santo helped raise more than $40 million for diabetes research.