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Baseball legend Willie Mays dies at 93

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays has died at the age of 93, the San Francisco Giants said in a statement.

“My father has passed away peacefully and among loved ones,” said his son Michael Mays. “I want to thank you all from the bottom of my broken heart for the unwavering love you have shown him over the years. You have been his life’s blood.”

The San Francisco Giants said in a statement that Mays died Tuesday afternoon. The statement did not list a cause of death.

“Today we have lost a true legend,” Giants Chairman Greg Johnson said in a statement. “In the pantheon of baseball greats, Willie Mays’ combination of tremendous talent, keen intellect, showmanship, and boundless joy set him apart.”

Mays joined the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro American League in 1948 when he was 16, according to the announcement. His contract was later purchased by the New York Giants in 1950 after he graduated high school. The New York Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958.

He spent most of 1951 and all of 1952 serving in the Army before returning to the Major Leagues in 1954. The Giants won the World Series that year, where Mays made a stellar defensive play known as “The Catch.”

He played for the Giants for 21 seasons and was a 24-time All-Star. He finished his major league career at the New York Mets for the 1972 and 1973 seasons. Former President Obama awarded him a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.

The Associated Press reported on Monday that Mays would not be in attendance at a game to honor him and the Negro Leagues set for later this week between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals at Rickwood Field.

Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said Thursday’s game will still honor Mays.

“Thursday’s game at historic Rickwood Field was designed to be a celebration of Willie Mays and his peers. With sadness in our hearts, it will now also serve as a national remembrance of an American who will forever remain on the short list of the most impactful individuals our great game has ever known,” he said in a statement.

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