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FSU Hall of Fame football coach Bobby Bowden dies at 91

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FSU Hall of Fame football coach Bobby Bowden dies at 91
Bobby Bowden, the Hall of Famer and former Florida State University football coach, died at the age of 91 following a battle with pancreatic cancer, his family said. File Photo by Mark Wallheiser/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Hall of Fame college football coach Bobby Bowden, known for leading Florida State University to two national championships, died Sunday. He was 91 years old.

Bowden died surrounded by his wife, Ann, and their six children at 5:08 a.m. at his home in Tallahassee, his daughter Ginger Bowden told the Tallahassee Democrat.

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"He passed peacefully," she said. "His family was with him during the night."

Late last month, Terry Bowden, a football coach at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, said his father had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and Bowden detailed his battle with the terminal illness to the newspaper.

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"I've always tried to serve God's purpose for my life, on and off the field, and I am prepared for what is to come," Bowden said. "My wife, Ann, and our family have been life's greatest blessing. I am at peace."

FSU also announced Bowden's death on Twitter Sunday.

"Today we lost a legend but you never lose a legacy," the university wrote. "Rest In Peace Coach Bowden."

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Bowden was being treated by caretakers and family at his home in the Killearn Estates neighborhood.

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In October 2020, Bowden tested positive for COVID-19 and he was hospitalized for five days in June for fatigue and additional medical tests.

Born Nov. 8, 1929, in Birmingham, Ala., Bowden was hired as FSU's head football coach in 1976 and remained at the helm for 34 years.

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During his tenure at FSU Bowden led the school to a 316-97-4 record, winning the national championship in 1993 and 1999 and recording just one losing season during his first year in 1976 before retiring in 2009.

Bowden holds the second-best overall coaching record among major college coaches at 377-129-4, trailing the late Joe Paterno who posted 409 wins.

He coached Heisman Trophy winners Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke and future Pro Football Hall of Famers Derrick Brooks, Walter Jones and Deion Sanders.

"God bless the Bowden family, friends and loved ones," Sanders wrote on Twitter Sunday. "Prayers are with you. I've lost one of the best coaches I've ever had."

Current FSU Head Coach Mike Norvell also offered his condolences to Bowden's family, saying the university community was hurting at the loss of "our program's patriarch."

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"Coach Bowden was one of the greatest coaches ever, but more than that he was an incredible man," said Norvell. "He was a special human being who earned an enduring legacy because of his wonderful heart, faith and values he lived."

Notable deaths of 2021

Bob Dole attends a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., on May 29, 2017. The former Kansas senator and Republican presidential and vice presidential candidate died on December 5 at the age of 98. Pool Photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI | License Photo

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