Jim Brown, the iconic running back for the Cleveland Browns and a prominent civil rights activist, has died at the age of 87. Brown’s family spokesperson confirmed that he passed away peacefully at his Los Angeles home on Thursday night, with his wife, Monique, by his side.
Monique Brown expressed her family’s grief in an Instagram post, describing Jim Brown as not just an activist, actor, and football star to the world, but also a loving husband, father, and grandfather to their family. She added, “Our hearts are broken.”
Regarded as one of football’s first superstars, Jim Brown achieved great success during his playing career from 1957 to 1965. He was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1965 and left an indelible mark on the league, breaking numerous records. He led the Cleveland Browns to their last NFL title in 1964 before retiring at the height of his career in 1965 to pursue acting.
In addition to his accomplishments on the football field, Jim Brown appeared in over 30 films, including notable works such as “Any Given Sunday” and “The Dirty Dozen.” His presence in both sports and entertainment contributed to the growing popularity of the game, capturing the attention of fans nationwide.
Beyond his athletic and acting achievements, Jim Brown used his platform to advocate for racial equality and social justice. During a time when Black Americans were fighting for their rights, Brown played a significant role in advancing their cause. In 1967, he organized The Cleveland Summit, a gathering of influential Black athletes, including Bill Russell and Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), to support boxer Muhammad Ali’s resistance to serving in the Vietnam War.
Throughout his later years, Jim Brown continued to make a difference in his community. He worked tirelessly to combat gang violence in Los Angeles and founded Amer-I-Can in 1988, a program dedicated to helping disadvantaged inner-city youth and formerly incarcerated individuals.
The impact of Jim Brown’s activism and athletic prowess resonates to this day. NBA superstar LeBron James paid tribute to him, urging fellow Black athletes to learn about Brown’s incredible contributions and the ways he transformed lives. Brown’s legacy will forever be cherished as a symbol of courage, advocacy, and athleticism that transcended the boundaries of sport.