Twins great Killebrew to enter hospice care
MINNEAPOLIS — Harmon Killebrew announced yesterday that he no longer plans to fight his esophageal cancer and has settled in for the final days of his life, saddening friends and fans of the 74-year-old Hall of Fame slugger.
In a statement released jointly by the Minnesota Twins and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Killebrew said “it is with profound sadness’’ that he will no longer receive treatment for the “awful disease.’’
He said the cancer has been deemed incurable by his doctors and he will enter hospice care.
“With the continued love and support of my wife, Nita, I have exhausted all options,’’ Killebrew said. He added: “I have spent the past decade of my life promoting hospice care and educating people on its benefits. I am very comfortable taking this next step and experiencing the compassionate care that hospice provides.’’
Killebrew, who’s 11th on baseball’s all-time home run list with 573, thanked his well-wishers for their support.
“I look forward to spending my final days in comfort and peace with Nita by my side,’’ he said.
Killebrew lives in the Phoenix area and was receiving treatment at a branch of the Mayo Clinic nearby after his diagnosis in December. He expressed optimism at the time, saying he expected to make a full recovery while acknowledging he was in “perhaps the most difficult battle’’ of his life.
Twins spokesman Kevin Smith said there was no prognosis given by Killebrew’s doctors for how much longer he might live. Instead of enduring chemotherapy, he’ll now be kept as comfortable as possible to deal with pain.
Killebrew made 11 All-Star appearances during a 22-year career spent mostly with the Washington Senators and the Twins when they moved to Minnesota in 1961. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984 and was fifth on the career home run list when he retired in 1975 after one season with the Kansas City Royals. Killebrew won the American League MVP award in 1969.