Crimson Tide fans reflect on the death of Alabama great Kenny Stabler

(WIAT) Thursday, a University of Alabama spokesperson confirmed to WIAT that former Alabama and NFL quarterback Ken Stabler passed away at age 69.

Stabler, also known by his nickname “The Snake,” passed away Wednesday.

According to a statement from the Stabler family, he died of complications from Stage 4 Colon Cancer. He was diagnosed in February of this year.

The statement said, “He passed peacefully surrounded by the people he loved most, including his three daughters and longtime partner, as some of his favorite songs played in the background, such as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and Van Morrison’s “Leaves Falling Down.”

Stabler is most widely known among Alabama fans for his famous “Run in the Mud” against Auburn.

Stabler, an Alabama native born in Foley, played college football at the University of Alabama before going on to play for the Oakland Raider, the Houston Oilers, and the New Orleans Saints.

The family’s statement said he requested his brain and spinal cord to be donated to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center to support research for degenerative brain disease in athletes.

The statement from his family asks for donations to the XOXO Stabler Foundation in lieu of flowers. The XOXO Stabler Foundation supports research of colon cancer and sports-related head trauma. Funeral arrangements are pending, according to the family’s statement.

The Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis said in statement, “The Raiders are deeply saddened by the passing of the great Ken Stabler. He was a cherished member of the Raider family and personified what it means to be a Raider. He wore the Silver and Black with Pride and Poise and will continue to live in the hearts of Raider fans everywhere. Our sincerest thoughts and prayers go out to Kenny’s family.”

John Madden said on Stabler’s passing:

I was head coach of the Raiders the entire time Kenny was there and he led us to a whole bunch of victories including one in Super Bowl XI.  I’ve often said, If I had one drive to win a game to this day, and I had a quarterback to pick, I would pick Kenny.  Snake was a lot cooler that I was.  He was a perfect quarterback and a perfect Raider. When you think about the Raiders you think about Ken Stabler.  Kenny loved life.  It is a sad day for all Raiders.

University of Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban issued the following statement:

I think anyone who had the chance to get to know Kenny would appreciate the great person he was and the pride he had for the University of Alabama.

I have had the chance to be around some of the best to ever play college and pro football, and Kenny may have been one of the greatest competitors to ever play the game. 

I was lucky enough to work with him on our radio broadcast my first year in Tuscaloosa and also have some special memories with him at a couple of our golf events. 

He was not only an outstanding football player, he was an all-around great guy and someone I really enjoyed spending time with. We lost a legend today and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Alabama fans in Tuscaloosa remembered Stabler’s life.

Jon Alford said, “Well, I mean it’s a sad day for the state of Alabama. He meant so much to our program through his career here at Alabama and the awesome announcing that he did, play calling for the university. It’s just (pause) there’s nobody like him that can step into his shoes. Such an awesome guy.”

Ellis Terry said, “Yeah man, I grew up an Alabama fan, from Alabama. It just a sad, you know he used to be the radio announcer with Eli Gold and so I grew up listening to him football games my whole life. It’s sad. He was a legend here. I know my dad was a big fan of his and so I hate to see the Snake’s gone man. It’s rough, but he definitely left his legacy here.”

Ryne Knuckles said, “Somebody as popular as Ken Stabler and as influential as Ken Stabler passing away that’s a very sad for not only the school, but the state and what he represented for us.”

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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