Dick Hoyt, a beloved icon of the Boston Marathon, has died at the age of 80

Hoyt pushed his son, Rick, in a wheelchair down the course for decades as part of Team Hoyt.

Dick and Rick Hoyt — Team Hoyt — in the Boston Marathon. Pat Greenhouse / The Boston Globe, File

Dick Hoyt, who pushed his son, Rick, in a wheelchair for decades in the Boston Marathon, died Wednesday at the age of 80, CBS Boston first reported

According to the station, Hoyt had been dealing with health issues recently and died in his sleep.

The Holland, Massachusetts, resident pushed his son along the Boston Marathon course 32 times, starting in 1981, with the duo becoming one of the race’s most recognizable fixtures over the years. 

The Boston Athletic Association, which puts on the marathon, released a statement Wednesday afternoon mourning Hoyt’s passing, with the organization writing he “personified what it meant to be a Boston Marathoner” during his more than three decades of races:

The B.A.A. is tremendously saddened to learn of the passing of Boston Marathon icon Dick Hoyt. Dick personified what it meant to be a Boston Marathoner, showing determination, passion, and love every Patriots’ Day for more than three decades. He was not only a fan-favorite who inspired thousands, but also a loyal friend and father who took pride in spending quality time with his son Rick while running from Hopkinton to Boston.

As a leader of Team Hoyt, Dick Hoyt and his son Rick quickly became Boston Marathon legends after their first run in 1980. Pushing Rick in a custom racing chair, Dick and Rick completed 32 Boston Marathons together, including a final finish in 2014. The pair’s bond and presence throughout the course became synonymous with the Boston Marathon. Team Hoyt’s 1,000th race together came at the 2009 Boston Marathon, and in 2015 Dick served as Grand Marshal of the race in recognition of his impact on the event and Para Athlete community.

Dick Hoyt was one-of-a-kind. We will sincerely miss Dick, and are keeping his many family and friends in our thoughts and prayers.

In 2015, Bryan Lyons took over pushing Rick in the race for Team Hoyt as the elder Hoyt retired from running. Lyons died suddenly last June. 

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