Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron died at the age of 86 on Jan. 22, and the cause of his death has now been revealed by officials. According to PEOPLE, who spoke to an investigator with the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office in Georgia, Aaron died of natural causes. The Braves previously said that the Baseball Hall of Famer "passed away peacefully in his sleep."
"We are absolutely devastated by the passing of our beloved Hank. He was a beacon for our organization, first as a player, then with player development, and always with our community efforts," Braves Chairman Terry McGuirk wrote in the statement. "His incredible talent and resolve helped him achieve the highest accomplishments, yet he never lost his nimble nature. Henry Louis Aaron wasn't just our icon, but one across Major League Baseball and around the world," he added. "His success on the diamond was matched only by his business accomplishments of the field and capped by his extraordinary philanthropic efforts."
The last time Aaron was seen publicly was earlier this month when he received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine with his wife, Billye. At the time, Aaron told the Associated Press: "I don't have any qualms about it at all, you know. I feel quite proud of myself for doing something like this. It's just a small thing that can help zillions of people in this country." After Aaron's death, several notable baseball players, celebrities and former presidents paid tribute to the former home run king.
"Hank Aaron was one of the best baseball players we've ever seen and one of the strongest people I've ever met," former President Barack Obama wrote in a statement last week. "Humble and hardworking, Hank was often overlooked until he started chasing Babe Ruth's home run record, at which point he began receiving death threats and racist letters — letters he would reread decades later to remind himself 'not to be surprised or hurt.'"
Aaron is one of the best baseball players of all-time. Along with hitting 755 home runs (which was a record when he retired), Aaron recorded 3,771 hits and drove in 2,297 runs. His hit total ranks third all-time, and he's still the career leader in RBIs. Aaron helped the Braves win the World Series in 1957 (the team was in Milwaukee) and won the MVP award the same year.