Hall of Fame defensive lineman Chris Doleman died Tuesday night after a two-year battle with brain cancer. He was 58.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Doleman’s passing in a press release.
“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Chris Doleman after a prolonged and courageous battle against cancer,” David Baker, the president and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, said in a news release. “I had the honor of getting to know him not only as a great football player but an outstanding human being. One of the honors of my life was witnessing Chris get baptized in the Jordan River during a Hall of Fame trip to Israel. The legacy of Chris Doleman will live forever in Canton, Ohio, for generations to learn from how he lived a life of courage and character.”
The Vikings, who selected Doleman with the fourth overall choice in 1985, also confirmed the bad news.
“The Minnesota Vikings express our deepest sympathies to Chris Doleman’s family and friends upon his passing,” the team said in a statement. “Chris was a great example for players past and present as he embodied all the best characteristics of a Viking — resilience, toughness and a competitive spirit. Chris always carried himself with dignity and class. Vikings fans worldwide will greatly miss him.”
In his fifth season, Doleman led the league with 21 sacks. He made 150.5 sacks in his 15-year career that included three years with the 49ers and two with the Falcons.
Doleman earned first-team All-Pro in 1987, ’89 and ’92 and was an eight-time Pro Bowler. He also was second-team all-decade for the 1990s.
He earned induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
Doleman, diagnosed with glioblastoma, underwent surgery on Jan. 25, 2018, to remove a cancerous tumor in his brain. Two other tumors were treated with radiation and chemotherapy.
Three days ago, Doleman tweeted: “Today is my 2 year anniversary of being a brain cancer survivor! Huge!”