Former football player, Chris Doleman died on Tuesday night after a battle with cancer, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced in a statement. He was 58 years old. Doleman is known for his contributions as a member of the Minnesota Vikings in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
"The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Chris Doleman after a prolonged and courageous battle against cancer," said David Baker, the Hall of Fame's president and CEO. "I had the honor of getting to know him not only as a great football player but an outstanding human being. One of the honors of my life was witnessing Chris get baptized in the Jordan River during a Hall of Fame trip to Israel.
"The legacy of Chris Doleman will live forever in Canton, Ohio, for generations to learn from how he lived a life of courage and character."
The Vikings also released a statement on one of the best defensive ends to play in the league.
"The Minnesota Vikings express our deepest sympathies to Chris Doleman's family and friends upon his passing," the team said. "Chris was a great example for players past and present, as he embodied all the best characteristics of a Viking – resilience, toughness and a competitive spirit. Chris always carried himself with dignity and class. Vikings fans worldwide will greatly miss him."
Doleman was drafted by the Vikings No. 4 overall in the 1985 NFL Draft. He didn't make a big impact during his first two seasons in the league, but he was able to have a breakout year in 1987 as he recorded 11 sacks. His best season came in 1989 as he recorded 94 tackles, 21 sacks and five forced fumbles. He was named to his third consecutive Pro Bowl and he was named to the All-Pro First Team that year. The 21 sacks Doleman notched was a team record until Jared Allen broke it in 2011.
Doleman then played for the Atlanta Falcons in 1994 and 1995. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1995 after posting 51 tackles and nine sacks. He then spent three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers before ending his career with the Vikings in 1999.
Doleman finished with 150.5 career sacks which ranks fifth in NFL history. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.