LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) – Jim Brown, Cleveland Browns RB legend, died Thursday (May 18) at his home in Los Angeles. The news was announced by Brown’s wife, Monique. The manner of death has not been released. He was 89.
“To the world, he was an activist, actor, and football star, Monique’s post said. “To our family, he was a loving and wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. Our hearts are broken …”
Brown was selected in the first round of the 1957 NFL draft from Syracuse, leading to his nine-season career with the Cleveland Browns (1957 – 1965); Brown led the league in rushing for eight of those years. He helped lead the team to 3 league championship games, winning the title in 1964 and being named MVP thrice.
The all-star RB retired at the top of his career at age 30 and wanted to focus on acting and social justice issues. He finished his career with the rushing yards record of 12,312 and it stood until Chicago Bears legend RB Walter Payton broke it in 1984. Brown also held the NFL record with 126 total touchdowns until 49er Jerry Rice caught his 127th, breaking the record in 1994.
In June 1967, Brown organized The Cleveland Summit, a meeting of the nation’s top Black athletes, including Bill Russell and Lew Alcindor, aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to support Muhammad Ali’s fight against serving in the Vietnam War. He later worked to help rid Los Angeles of gang violence and founded a program to help disadvantaged inner-city youth and ex-convicts.
Since Brown’s retirement, no one has put on a No. 32 Browns jersey, and a statue was erected outside of FirstEnergy Stadium in 2016 in his honor.
Upon news of his death, Dallas Cowboys RB Emmitt Smith wrote, “He is and was a true legend in sports and in the community using his platform to help others.”
In a statement, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell called Brown a “gifted athlete” who “became a forerunner and role model for athletes being involved in social initiatives outside their sports.”
“It’s impossible to describe the profound love and gratitude we feel for having the opportunity to be a small piece of Jim’s incredible life and legacy,” the Browns said in a statement. “We mourn his passing but celebrate the indelible light he brought to the world.
“Our hearts are with Jim’s family, loved ones, and all those he impacted along the way.”
Brown is survived by his wife Monique, children and grandchildren.