Steelers lineman, longtime team broadcaster Tunch Ilkin dies at 63 due to ALS

·2 min read
Tunch Ilkin with the Steelers.
Tunch Ilkin spent 13 seasons with the Steelers. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Steelers legend Tunch Ilkin died Saturday after he was diagnosed with ALS last year. He was 63.

Steelers president Art Rooney II released a statement Saturday paying tribute to Ilkin. Rooney said the organization is "heartbroken" after Ilkin's death, and praised his "desire to help others."

Rooney's full statement read:

"We are heartbroken by the passing of Tunch Ilkin. He was a man of faith who dedicated his entire life to being a devout Christian and family man.

His passion for the game of football was evident in his everyday life. As a player, he fought his way through tough times of being cut and injured, but continued to make an impact as a leader of our offensive line and made two Pro Bowls.

After his playing career, Tunch continued to make an impact in our community in so many ways. His efforts and dedication to the Light of Life was unparalleled, and his desire to always help others made everyone appreciate him.

He was loved by his family, teammates, and friends. We were fortunate to have Tunch as a player and broadcaster for so many years. Our condolences to his entire family during this difficult time."

Ilkin spent 14 seasons in the NFL, 13 of which came with the Steelers. He emerged as a starter on the offensive line for 10 straight seasons, mostly playing right tackle. Ilkin made two Pro Bowls over that period. Following the 1992 season, Ilkin joined the Green Bay Packers for one year before retiring. 

Following his retirement, Ilkin served as a radio analyst for the Steelers. He remained in that role until June, when he announced his retirement to focus on his ALS treatment. Ilkin was diagnosed with ALS last October. 

A month after Ilkin's retirement, the Steelers announced he would be inducted into the team's Hall of Honor. A ceremony to induct Ilkin will take place in November.  

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