Ernie Banks’ family has announced that the Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer died after suffering a heart attack.
Banks, a two-time National League MVP who spent his entire major league career with the Cubs, died Friday at the age of 83.
The cause of his death was not announced until Sunday, when family attorney Mark Bogen revealed at a news conference that Banks died from the heart attack just seven days before his 84th birthday.
Banks’ wife, Liz Banks, also was in attendance.
“It is certainly a sad day for us,” she said. “I’d like to thank everyone for being here. … He was very beloved and he is going to be dearly missed by family, friends and all of his fans.”
The Cubs and the city announced later Sunday that a statue of Banks will be temporarily moved from outside Wrigley Field to downtown. It will be on display in Daley Plaza from Wednesday through Saturday.
Banks hit 512 home runs during his 19-year career and was fond of saying, “It’s a great day for baseball. Let’s play two!” That finish to his famous catchphrase adorns his statue outside Wrigley Field.
Although he played in 14 All-Star Games from 1953 to 1971, Banks never reached the postseason, and the Cubs finished below .500 in all but six of his seasons. Still, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977, the first year he was eligible, and selected to baseball’s all-century team in 1999.
Banks’ best season came in 1958, when he hit .313 with 47 homers and 129 RBIs. Although the Cubs went 72-82 and finished sixth in the National League, Banks edged Willie Mays and Hank Aaron for his first MVP award.
He was the first player from a losing team to win the NL MVP. Banks won the MVP again in 1959, becoming the first NL player to win it in consecutive years, even though the Cubs had another dismal year. Banks hit .304 with 45 homers and a league-leading 143 RBIs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.