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Frank Gifford—NFL Hall of Famer, Sportscaster, Husband of Kathie Lee Gifford—Dies at 84

Frank Gifford—NFL Hall of Famer, Sportscaster, Husband of Kathie Lee Gifford—Dies at 84
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Frank Gifford, an NFL Hall of Famer and Kathie Lee Gifford's longtime husband, has died at 84.

Early-years image of the football star [Cred: Robert Riger/Getty Images]

A family statement confirms that he passed away unexpectedly earlier today, of natural causes, at home in Connecticut.

Gifford rose to fame with the New York Giants in 1952. A star playing offense and defense, he was laid out for over a year due to an injury. He recovered and returned to the game, continuing to excel.

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Gifford in his prime [Creds: Hulton Archive/Getty Images (1), Collegiate Images/Getty Images (2)]

Gifford's accomplishments include eight Pro Bowl and five NFL Championship Games. He won the MVP award in 1956. In 1977, Gifford was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

As a TV personality, Gifford was an iconic part of ABC's "Monday Night Football" with Howard Cosell (who died in 1995) and Don Meredith (who died in 2010) from 1971 until 1997, and conducted innumerable interviews with sports figures, including Muhammad Ali.

Frank and Kathie Lee in 2005 [Cred: Bruce Glikas/Getty Images]

Gifford was married to Kathie Lee for nearly 29 years. The couple shared hosting duties in various capacities and their children, Cody and Cassidy, became household names when Kathie Lee joined "Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee."

Sporadically, he made non-sportscasting appearances on TV, including episodes of "What's My Line?" (1956), "Coach" (1995), and his last, "Spin City" (1997). He also appeared in a number of movies, including "Jerry Maguire" (1996).

Gifford, Kathie Lee, Regis Philbin, Regis's wife Joy, and Kathie Lee's co-host Hoda Kotb attend the Greenwich International Film Festival's Changemaker Gala on June 6. [Cred: Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images]

Gifford's family is celebrating his life and has asked for privacy:

"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."