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49ers legend Dwight Clark passes away after battle with ALS

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Read Full Article: 49ers legend Dwight Clark passes away after battle with ALS

By Adam Stites - SB NATION -

The man on the receiving end of “The Catch” died Monday.

San Francisco 49ers legend Dwight Clark — most famous for his 1982 reception from Joe Montana forever dubbed “The Catch” — died Monday after a battle with ALS.

His wife, Kelly Clark, announced the news on Twitter:

Clark was a 10th round draft pick in the 1979 NFL Draft and quickly established himself as one of Montana’s favorite targets. He was a Pro Bowler in 1981 and 1982, and led the league in receptions during a strike-shortened 1982 season.

His most famous moment came in the 1981 NFC Championship between the 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. With less than a minute remaining in the game, Montana lobbed a pass high into the back of the end zone that Clark managed to haul in for a 6-yard touchdown sending the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

Clark’s No. 87 was retired by the 49ers and he briefly served as an NFL executive, including a four-year stint as the general manager of the Cleveland Browns. He announced in March 2017 that he had been diagnosed with ALS and spoke to 49ers fans in October at Levi’s Stadium.

Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo — who held a get-together for Clark with family and friends a month ago — released a statement Monday, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times:

“My heart is broken. Today, I lost my little brother and one of my best friends. I cannot put into words how special Dwight was to me and to everyone his life touched. He was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, brother and a great friend and teammate. He showed tremendous courage and dignity in his battle with ALS and we hope there will soon be a cure for this horrendous disease. I will always remember Dwight the way he was — larger than life, handsome, charismatic and the only one who could pull off wearing a fur coat at our Super Bowl parade. He was responsible for one of the most iconic plays in NFL history that began our run of Super Bowl championships, but to me, he will always be an extension of my family. I love him and will miss him terribly. Our hearts and prayers are with his wife Kelly, his children and the entire Clark family.”

Clark was 61.