Tony Gwynn, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and one of the best hitters in the history of the national pastime, died this morning at the age of 54.
The San Diego Padres, for whom Gwynn played and accumulated 3,141 hits from 1982-2001, confirmed his death on its official Twitter feed Monday.
"We are terribly sad to say goodbye to our teammate, our friend and a legend, Tony Gwynn. Rest in peace, Mr. Padre," the team posted just moments ago.
The baseball legend had been battling salivary gland cancer, a fight he began in 2009 when a malignant tumor was removed from his right cheek.
Gwynn claimed that the cancer in the salivary gland was a result of his longtime habit of chewing tobacco. The cancer returned twice after 2009.
He underwent surgery in early 2012; in each case Gwynn valiantly fought back with the positive attitude, patience and resolve he showed on the field.
Gwynn's physical appearance - not even 6' and over 200 pounds - defied his athleticism; his frame was a self-described "body by Betty Crocker."
Tony attended college at San Diego State University (SDSU), where he starred in both baseball and basketball, setting records for the Aztecs.
He went on to coach SDSU baseball after retiring from the Padres, for whom he hit .338 career and never below .309 in any full MLB season.
Gwynn was married to Alicia Gwynn, and is the father of R&B artist Anisha Nicole and MLB outfielder Tony Gwynn, Jr. of the Philadelphia Phillies.