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Story Behind Broadcaster Tunch Ilkin’s Cause of Death at 63

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Longtime Steelers broadcaster and the former player passed away on Saturday, September 4, 2021. Tunch Ilkin’s cause of death also has been revealed, so stay up with us for more information.

According to WPXI’s Alby Oxenreiter, the two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman for the Steelers passed away Saturday morning due to a long-time illness.

“Very sad news. A great man and a great friend to many, Tunch Ilkin, has passed away. Thoughts and prayers are with the Ilkin family,” Alby Oxenreiter wrote on Twitter.

Story Behind Broadcaster Tunch Ilkin's Cause of Death at 63

Tunch Ilkin was born in Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey, on September 23, 1957. He was a Turkish American sports broadcaster and a football player. Ilkin also was known as a television and radio critic for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1998 to 2020.

Ilkin was distinguished as being the first Turkish player who played in the National Football League.

Tunch is proud of his nearly four decades in the NFL, and later, he moved to the booth calling the games with broadcast legends Bill Hillgrove and Myron Cope.

He was selected in the sixth round of the 1980 draft, played in 177 NFL games. In 1993, Tunch played one game for the Green Bay Packers before retiring.


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ALS Reported as Tunch Ilkin’s Cause of Death

Tunch Ilkin’s cause of death has been reported as ALS. He was diagnosed with ALS, generally called Lou Gehrig’s disease, in September 2020. It is a neurodegenerative disease that attacks motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord and finally resulted in the wasting away of muscle and loss of movement.

Ilkin revealed that he had been battling ALS in October 2020, so he decided to quit broadcasting to focus on his treatment for ALS.

“I have had 37 years in the NFL, with 14 as a player and the last 23 in broadcasting as the color analyst on the Pittsburgh Steelers Radio Network, and I’ve decided to retire,” the longtime Steelers analyst said.

Story Behind Broadcaster Tunch Ilkin's Cause of Death at 63
Pittsburgh Steelers great Tunch Ilkin died on September 3, 2021, after battling with ALS. May he rest in peace.

Ilkin’s parents emigrated to the United States when he was a child and settled in the Chicago area. He won All-Conference and All-County honors as a football player after he attended Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Illinois.

Tunch was granted an athletic scholarship to Indiana State University in 1975. He was elected by the Steelers in the sixth round of the 1980 NFL Draft.

He played as an offensive tackle for the Steelers from 1980 to 1992. He also played for the Green Bay Packers in 1993 before retiring from football.

After his retirement, Ilkin began appearing as a sports reporter and commentator on sports broadcasts in the Pittsburgh market. His famous segment, titled Lunch with Tunch, featured interviews with Steelers coaches and players.

Celebrities’ death news always breaks many hearts, but fans kindly remember memories, and their idols are alive in their hearts even after death.


Reactions to Tunch Ilkin’s Death

Shortly after the sad news of Tunch Ilkin’s death came out, devastated fans and friends paid touching tributes to him and spread their condolence through social media.

Bob Pompeani wrote on Twitter: “Sooo sad today. A wonderful, faithful man and a great friend, Tunch Ilkin, has died. Condolences and prayers are with the Ilkin family. His faith was incredible.”

Jenna Harner tweeted: “May Tunch Ilkin Rest In Peace. I didn’t know him personally, but he always had such a radiant smile when I’d pass him in the Steelers press box last season. Sending thoughts and prayers to his family and all of the lives he impacted. He was truly an incredibly special soul.”

Story Behind Broadcaster Tunch Ilkin's Cause of Death at 63

Colin Dunlap wrote: “Rest In Peace Tunch Ilkin. What incredibly sad news. Just stops you in your tracks and makes you cry. But I also think of this measure: If you can live a life from beginning to end and no one has something negative to say about you, what a success. Tunch did that. Few do.”

“Tunch Ilkin made time for anybody. That included me on occasions I found myself helping on Steelers stories. He was a big man with a bigger heart, grateful and gracious, and a giver. Very good player. Exceptional color analyst. Unforgettable Pittsburgher. Rest In Power, Tunch,” Rob Rossi tweeted.

It is a difficult time for Ilkin’s family and friends. Words cannot express our deep sorrow from the passing of the legendary broadcaster, and we ask you all to keep Tunch, his family, his friends, and all of his loved ones in your thoughts through this agonizing time.


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