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Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita dies at 78

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Mikita is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer.

Calgary Flames v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Five Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Chicago Blackhawks legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Stan Mikita died Tuesday, his family announced. He was 78.

“There are no words to describe our sadness over Stan’s passing,” Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said in a statement. “He meant so much to the Chicago Blackhawks, to the game of hockey, and to all of Chicago. He left an imprint that will forever be etched in the hearts of fans - past, present and future. Stan made everyone he touched a better person. My wife Marilyn and I, joined by the entire Wirtz family, extend our prayers and thoughts to Jill and the Mikita family. ‘Stosh’ will be deeply missed, but never, ever forgotten.”

Mikita is the franchise leader in games played (1,396), assists (926) and points (1,467) after 22 seasons. He was an eight-time All-Star, two-time Hart Trophy winner and member of the Hawks’ 1961 Stanley Cup championship team. He also is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s 1983 class and has a bronze statue next to one of teammate Bobby Hull outside the United Center.

His No. 21 was the first number to be retired in franchise history.

Stan Mikita’s family announced in 2015 that the hockey legend is suffering from Lewy body dementia. Lewy body dementia is a “type of progressive dementia. Symptoms include hallucinations and varied levels of alertness.”

Prior to his diagnosis, Mikita served as an official ambassador for the Hawks since March 2008.