(WKRG) Foley native and football legend Kenny Stabler has passed away Wednesday, according to an official statement from the University of Alabama.
“We announce with great sadness that our father, Ken Stabler, passed away Wednesday, July 8 as a result of complications associated with colon cancer.
He passed peacefully surrounded by the people he loved most, including his three daughters and longtime partner, as some of his favorite songs played in the background, such as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and Van Morrison’s “Leaves Falling Down.”
Stabler had been battling stage 4 colon cancer since February, according to the university. He is survived by his three daughters Kendra, Alexa and Marissa, his grandsons Jack and Justin, and his sister Carolyn.
Funeral arrangements are pending. The University of Alabama asks that any donations be made to the XOXO Stabler Foundation to support research of colon cancer and sports-related head trauma.
Stabler grew up in Foley and quickly became a football standout. He would go on to play quarterback at the University of Alabama under legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, finishing with a record of 28-3-2 as a starter.
Stabler was selected in the second round of the 1968 NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders, where he spent most of his career. Stabler led the Raiders to a Super Bowl in the 1977 season. His outstanding career would result in four Pro-Bowl selections.
“He wanted to make a difference in the lives of others in both life and death. At his request, his brain and spinal cord were donated to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center to support research for degenerative brain disease in athletes.
He was a kind, generous and unselfish man, never turning down an autograph request or an opportunity to help someone in need. A great quarterback, he was an even greater father to his three girls and grandfather to his two “grand snakes.”
We are grateful for the tremendous love and support from friends and fans. We ask that you please respect our privacy during this difficult time as we grieve this heartbreaking loss.”
After his proficient college and NFL careers, Stabler would later become a television commentator before resigning due to a DUI arrest in 2007.
Stabler’s death has been the source of media speculation all-day. Several premature reports were published locally and nationally before the official statement from the University of Alabama.