Dwight Clark, who was on the receiving end of the play simply known as “the catch” during the 1981 NFL Championship Game between the 49ers and the Cowboys has died after a year long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The 49ers released the following statement, “The San Francisco 49ers family has suffered a tremendous loss today with the passing of Dwight Clark, we extend our condolences and prayers to Dwight’s wife, Kelly, his family, friends and fans, as we join together to mourn the death of one the most beloved figures in 49ers history,” the statement went on, “For almost four decades, he served as a charismatic ambassador for our team and the Bay Area. Dwight’s personality and his sense of humor endeared him to everyone he came into contact with, even during his most trying times. The strength, perseverance and grace with which he battled ALS will long serve as an inspiration to so many. Dwight will always carry a special place in our hearts and his legacy will live on as we continue to battle this terrible disease.”
Clark spent his entire nine-year career with the 49ers, ranking third and fourth in franchise history in receiving yards (6,750) and receptions (506), respectively. At 6-foot-4, Clark’s towering frame emerged as a favorite target to Hall of Famer Joe Montana.
Kelly Clark, Dwight’s wife, left a heart warming message on twitter saying, “I’m heartbroken to tell you that today I lost my best friend and husband. He passed peacefully surrounded by many of the people he loved most. I am thankful for all of Dwight’s friends, teammates and 49ers fans who have sent their love during his battle with ALS.”