Former Green Bay Packer Quarterback Bart Starr has died

Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr, Photo: Bart Starr / CMG Worldwide via MGN.

A statement from his family, released through the Green Bay Packers, says Bart Starr has died. He was 85 years old.

Here is the full statement:

“We are saddened to note the passing of our husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Bart Starr. He battled with courage and determination to transcend the serious stroke he suffered in September 2014, but his most recent illness was too much to overcome.

“While he may always be best known for his success as the Packers quarterback for 16 years, his true legacy will always be the respectful manner in which he treated every person he met, his humble demeanor, and his generous spirit.

“Our family wishes to thank the thousands of friends and fans who have enriched his life – and therefore our lives – for so many decades and especially during the past five years. Each letter, text, phone call, and personal visit inspired him and filled him with joy.

“His love for all of humanity is well known, and his affection toward the residents of Alabama and of Wisconsin filled him with gratitude. He had hoped to make one last trip to Green Bay to watch the Packers this fall, but he shall forever be there in spirit.”

Green Bay Packers legend Bart Starr was born Jan. 9, 1934, in Montgomery, Alabama. He celebrated his 85th birthday in January.

At that time, our sister station in Green Bay, WBAY spoke with Starr's son, Bart Starr Jr.

Starr Jr. said the Hall of Fame quarterback was making tremendous strides after some serious health issues.

"Given all he's been through, the fact that we're here talking about him having that milestone makes us full of gratitude," says Bart Starr Jr. "And we had an early celebration at his favorite Mexican restaurant on Saturday, and then we're going to have a little follow up one with some cake and a few things later today, so we're going to celebrate long and hard."

Starr has had health set backs in recent years. In 2014, he suffered two strokes and a heart attack. His recovery has included stem cell treatment and working with a trainer.

"He's begun to recall some things that might seem mundane to most individuals but he was not able to remember up until maybe three or six months ago," Starr says. "That just fills our hearts with joy to know that he was able to have the kind of year that we hoped he would but were not sure that he would."

At the time, he told WBAY's reporter that he hoped to return to Green Bay this fall for a Packers game.

"Dad loves that sort of talk because Green Bay has always been his favorite place to live and to visit," Bart Jr says. "And when we bring up that possibility, you talk about lighting someone up with enthusiasm, that does it."

Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy also released a statement Sunday morning saying, “The Packers Family was saddened today to learn of the passing of Bart Starr. A champion on and off the field, Bart epitomized class and was beloved by generations of Packers fans. A clutch player who led his team to five NFL titles, Bart could still fill Lambeau Field with electricity decades later during his many visits. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Cherry and the entire Starr family.”

Bart Starr earned legend status by leading the Packers to wins in Super Bowl I and II. He was the MVP of both games.

His quarterback sneak in the Ice Bowl is often named one of the greatest plays in NFL history.

Starr played 16 seasons in the NFL and tossed for 24,718 passing yards. He coached the Packers from 1975-1983.

Believe it or not, the all-time great was a 17th round draft choice for the Packers in 1956. He found his greatness under the leadership of Vince Lombardi.

Starr entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

His No. 15 jersey was retired by the Packers.