Arnold Palmer’s longtime assistant Doc Griffin confirmed the player known as “The King” for his transformative legacy in golf had died at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital.
No cause of death was immediately given, although the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported he had undergone cardiac tests.
“We just lost one of the incredible people in the game of golf and in all of sports,” 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus said.
“He has always been a fighter and he never gave up on anything. He didn’t give up even now. Maybe his body did, but I know Arnold’s will and spirit did not.”
Palmer captured seven major tournaments during his illustrious career, taking The Masters four times (in 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964), the British Open twice (in 1961 and 1962) and the US Open once (in 1960).
His go-for-broke style, raw athleticism and unorthodox swing enthralled fans, and he became one of golf’s first television superstars, helping make the sport accessible to a much wider audience.
His rise — along with that of Nicklaus and Gary Player — set the stage for the sport’s huge broadcast rights fees and prize money riches, which were later enhanced by the success of Tiger Woods.
Palmer became the first person to make $1 million playing golf.
He had a drink named after him — a mix of lemonade and iced tea.