Golfing legend Arnold Palmer has died at 87.
He died Sunday late evening at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Shadyside, a tertiary care hospital in Pittsburgh. NPR confirmed his death with UPMC's media relations manager, Stephanie Stanley and in a statement by United States Golf Association issued via Twitter.
Palmer won 62 PGA Tour events, fifth on the all-time list. He won golf's biggest titles: the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open. He won seven majors in all.
But it wasn't just the numbers that made Palmer an iconic sports figure.
He wasn't the greatest male golfer of all time. That title usually prompts a debate about Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods or Ben Hogan, maybe Sam Snead. But the most important player? It's fairly unanimous that Arnold Palmer was, true to his nickname, the King.
Palmer strapped a moldy, staid game on his back and gave it new life. He ignited golf's popularity in the 1960s as he became the sport's first TV star.
"He was someone who looked like an NFL halfback," says ESPN.com senior writer Ian O'Connor. "He had arms like a blacksmith and giant hands, and he had those rugged good looks. He was just a different golfer. Nobody had ever really seen anything like him in that sport."
Palmer's arrival as a champion pro in the late 1950s dovetailed with the emerging medium of television.