Harmon Killebrew enters hospice care; cancer battle 'coming to an end'
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Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame slugger Harmon Killebrew's battle with esophageal cancer has taken a turn for the worse.
In a statement issued Friday morning, the 74-year-old Killebrew said, "It is with profound sadness that I share with you that my continued battle with esophageal cancer is coming to an end.
"With the continued love and support of my wife, Nita, I have exhausted all options with respect to controlling this awful disease. My illness has progressed beyond my doctors' expectation of cure.
"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.
"I am comforted by the fact that I am surrounded by my family and friends. I thank you for the outpouring of concern, prayers and encouragement that you have shown me. I look forward to spending my final days in comfort and peace with Nita by my side."
Killebrew, who hit 573 career home runs in 22 seasons, visited the Twins' spring training facility on March 17, just a couple months after being diagnosed with the ailment. At that time, the slugger said he was "really feeling good," but cautioned that he wouldn't know much about a prognosis until his treatments concluded in May.
The 1969 American League MVP was initially hoping to attend opening-day festivities at Target Field on April 8, but he was unable to attend.