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Hockey Superstar Gordie Howe Dies at 88

FILE - Detroit Red Wings star forward Gordie Howe is surrounded by teammates as he kneels after scoring his 544th goal to tie the National Hockey League all-time record, in Detroit, Oct. 27, 1963.

Hockey star Gordie Howe, considered the greatest hockey player of all time by many of his fellow athletes, died Friday at age 88.

His family says Howe simply died of "old age." He had been suffering from the effects of a stroke in 2014, as well as dementia.

The Canadian-born Howe is known throughout the sport as "Mr. Hockey." He began his legendary career in 1946 and played professional hockey until 1980, when he was well into his 50s.

He helped the Detroit Red Wings win four Stanley Cup championships and was named the National Hockey League's most valuable player six times.

Howe set numerous hockey scoring records that stood for decades until broken by another hockey legend, Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky idolized Howe, calling him the greatest hockey player who ever lived and the nicest man he ever met.

U.S. President Barack Obama said of Howe in a statement, ". . . the list of kids who skated around the pond until dark, picturing themselves passing, scoring, and enforcing like Howe, dreaming of hoisting the Stanley Cup like him . . . comprises too many to count."