Bart Starr
© Jeff Hanisch | 2015 Nov 26
Bart Starr © Jeff Hanisch | 2015 Nov 26

Bart Starr, the Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback who led Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers to five NFL championships, including victories in the first two Super Bowls, died Sunday in Birmingham at age 85, his family announced.

“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.”

Starr’s scoring plunge won the iconic “Ice Bowl” vs. the Cowboys in 1967, seven years after the Packers selected the Montgomery, Ala., native 200th overall out of Alabama in the 1956 draft.

The orchestrator of Lombardi’s Packers dynasty and a member of the NFL’s 1960s All-Decade Team, Starr was named MVP of the first two Super Bowls, regular-season MVP in 1966 and has one of six retired jerseys (No. 15) in franchise history. After playing for 16 seasons, Starr coached the Packers from 1975-’83.

“The Packers Family was saddened today to learn of the passing of Bart Starr,” said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. “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.”

Pro Football Weekly sends its deepest sympathies to the entire Starr and Packers families.