Former Cubs great Santo dies

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 12:12 PM ET

CHICAGO -- Former Chicago Cubs great Ron Santo died Thursday night in Arizona. He was 70 years old.

The Cubs said Santo died after battling bladder cancer.

Santo was a third baseman for the Cubs from 1960 through 1973, then spent his final season with the White Sox. He joined the Cubs radio broadcast team in 1990 and became an iconic figure for the team's fans, suffering through the club's many failures and cheering them in victory.

Despite his many health issues, which included diabetes that resulted in leg amputations, Santo was expected to return to the broadcast booth in 2011.

"We knew him for his passion, his loyalty, his great personal courage and his tremendous sense of humor," said Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts in a statement. "It was our great honor to get to know him personally in our first year as owners.

"Ronnie will forever be the heart and soul of Cubs fans. Our thoughts and prayers today are with his wife Vicki and their family and we share with fans across the globe in mourning the loss of our team's number one fan and one of the greatest third basemen to ever play the game.

"For the last 21 years, his love for baseball and passion for the Cubs was felt in every one of his broadcasts."

Santo was a nine-time National League All-Star selection and won five Gold Glove Awards during his 15-year career. He hit 342 career home runs, batted .277 and drove in 1,331 runs.

His 337 homers as a Cub rank fourth in franchise history. The Cubs retired his uniform number 10 in 2003.

"In the days and seasons ahead, we will honor Ron and celebrate all he has meant to our team and our fans," Ricketts' statement concluded. "Ron's number 10 will always be close to our hearts and Ron will forever be a member of the Cubs family."


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