Friday, March 3, 2017

What NFL Star and Pro Football Hall of Fame Member Died from Mesothelioma?

A very famous NFL football player who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, died from mesothelioma. Do you know who this famous football player who died from mesothelioma is?

                                                (Photo from Wiki Commons)

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium which is the thin layer of tissue that covers internal organs. Mesothelioma is most often associated with the lungs and chest area. It is a deadly disease that is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. 

The famous football player who died from mesothelioma was an Outland Trophy winner and two-time first team All-American in college and is in the College Football Hall of Fame. In the NFL, he was Rookie of the Year, NFL Player of the Year, played in 14 Pro Bowls, was a six-time first team All-Pro and three-time second team All-Pro, and he's on most people's All-Decade Teams for two different decades. 

Any idea who he is? In addition to a brilliant NFL career, he went on to become a famous actor and he was also a long-time NFL announcer who worked five Super Bowls as the main color commentator.

What NFL Star and Pro Football Hall of Fame Member Died from Mesothelioma?

  • Merlin Olsen

The NFL great and Pro Football Hall of Fame player is Merlin Olsen. Merlin Olsen played college football at Utah State and then he played in the NFL from 1962 to 1976, all 15 years for the Los Angeles Rams. 

After his NFL career ended, Merlin Olsen was a long-time NFL announcer on NBC famously teaming with Dick Enberg for over a decade. Merlin Olsen was also a successful Hollywood actor most famously starring as Michael Landon's sidekick Jonathan Garvey on the hit TV show "Little House on the Prairie". Olsen also had his own TV show called "Father Murphy" which lasted two seasons.

In 2009, Merlin Olsen was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. He underwent chemotherapy to try and treat the disease but the treatments were ultimately unsuccessful and he died on March 11, 2010, at the age of 69.

Merlin Olsen did not go quietly. Before he died he filed lawsuits against two-dozen defendants including NBC Studios and 20th Century Fox where he worked as an actor claiming he was exposed to asbestos on the job. Olsen also worked on construction sites as a child and young adult doing mainly drywall construction where he could also have been exposed to asbestos and he also named Sherwin-Williams, Lennox and Georgia Pacific as defendants in his lawsuit.

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