NEW HAVEN, Conn., Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Pro football hall of famer and legendary sportscaster Frank Gifford died at his Connecticut home Sunday at the age of 84, his family said in a statement.
"It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved husband, father and friend, Frank Gifford," the statement said. "Frank died suddenly this beautiful Sunday morning of natural causes at his Connecticut home.
"We rejoice in the extraordinary life he was privileged to live, and we feel grateful and blessed to have been loved by such an amazing human being. We ask that our privacy be respected at this difficult time and we thank you for your prayers."
Gifford, who played for the NFL's New York Giants between 1952 and 1964, starred at the University of Southern California before going on to excel as both a defensive and offensive player in the professional ranks.
Seven years after leaving football, Gifford began his rise to prominence in 1971 by replacing ABC Sports' Keith Jackson on the Monday Night Football broadcast team -- where he would remain until 1997.
Gifford appeared in eight NFL Pro Bowls at three different positions -- running back, wide receiver and defensive back.
The broadcaster, who was married to NBC News personality Kathie Lee Gifford, died exactly a week shy of his 85th birthday.