Tunch Ilkin dies at 63

Steelers Tunch Ilkin
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Tunch Ilkin, a former Steelers player who spent 23 years broadcasting the team’s games, has died. He was 63.

Ilkin was diagnosed last year with ALS.

In all, Ilkin spent 37 years in and around pro football. He retired from broadcasting earlier this year to focus on fighting the disease.

Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Ilkin came to the United States at the age of two. A sixth-round pick of the Steelers in 1980 from Indiana State, Ilkin remained with the Steelers through 1992, making it to the Pro Bowl twice.

He joined Bill Hilgrove and the late Myron Cope in 1998, calling the Steelers’ games on radio. He also worked for NBC as a game analyst in 1995.

We extend our condolences to Ilkin’s family, friends, and colleagues.

19 responses to “Tunch Ilkin dies at 63

  1. He also played with the Packers for a year or two. I loved him not only for his name but also because it looked like his head was trying to explode right out of his helmet, both of which were perfect for an O-lineman of the time. Like Ray Nitschke before him, He was a super intelligent guy and rather soft spoken off the field.

    Rest In Peace, Tunch. You will be missed.

  2. One of the few o-lineman I ever saw who could deal with Reggie White. Nice guy, totally underrated as a player. RIP, bud.

  3. This is heartbreaking news. Tunch was a very, very good offensive tackle and an even better broadcaster and talk show host. And he was even better person than player or broadcaster. He knew the game inside-out. Tunch was quality people. Always upbeat and optimistic, very funny, kind and generous. Humble, too. Whenever anyone would pay him a compliment, he’d reply, “Thanks for the encouragement!” What a great guy. Rest In Peace, Tunch.

  4. touchback6 says:
    Probably the best player on the 80s Steelers which were awful.
    2 Division Championships
    4 Playoff Appearances
    Only three years below .500
    Lots of teams would take that for a decade
    Hell, there are teams that would take that for 2 or 3 decades…
    Let’s try ‘mediocre’

  5. TB6 has to throw in an insult while saying RIP. Typical of this guy, the perfect Patriot fan.

  6. So sad. That is just a horrible disease. A friend of mine passed away from it a couple of years ago.
    In all the years since Lou Gehrig died from it, they still haven’t made much headway with it.
    R.I.P. Tunch and God Bless your family.

  7. touchback6 says:
    September 4, 2021 at 4:58 pm
    Probably the best player on the 80s Steelers which were awful.



    You know you can say something without a negative spin on it. Huh. Horrible human being.

  8. RIP Tunch and God speed. How could “people” vote down the well wishing comments about such a wonderful person that died?

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