Legendary Florida State Football Coach Bobby Bowden Dead at 91: 'He Was Admired By Everyone'

"My father passed away peacefully early this morning with all six of his children and my mother here by his side," Bobby Bowden's son said in a statement on Sunday

Bobby Bowden
Bobby Bowden. Photo: Doug Benc/Getty

Legendary Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden has died. He was 91.

"My father passed away peacefully early this morning with all six of his children and my mother here by his side," his son Terry said in a statement, according to ESPN. "I couldn't have asked for a better personal mentor than my father. He was a wonderful husband and father, who relied on his strong Christian faith to provide the foundation for his life."

"I also was fortunate to be raised by a football coach who had a reputation for coaching the right way his entire career. He was admired by everyone who played for him or coached against him," he added.

News of the College Football Hall of Famer's death came two weeks after he announced that he had been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Though Bowden did not initially specify his condition, he said in a statement at the time to the Tallahassee Democrat that he was "at peace." His son later told reporters his father had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, per ESPN.

"Today we lost a legend but you never lose a legacy," Florida State University wrote on social media Sunday.

"Coach Bowden was one of the greatest coaches ever, but more than that he was an incredible man. He was a special human being who earned an enduring legacy because of his wonderful heart, faith and values he lived," added Coach Mike Norvell in a statement. "My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been impacted by Coach Bowden and particularly with his wife Ann, their children, grandchildren and former players and coaches. The entire Florida State family is hurting right now at the loss of our program's patriarch."

During his 34-season career coaching the FSU Seminoles, Bowden earned more than 350 victories and helped the team win national championships in 1993 and 1999.

He retired from his post in 2009, becoming the second-winningest coach in the NCAA Division I history.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

"Florida State University has lost a legend in the passing of Bobby Bowden," FSU president John Thrasher wrote in another statement shared on social media. "Coach Bowden built a football dynasty and raised the national profile of Florida State University, and he did it with class and a sense of humor. While he leaves an incredible legacy as one of the best football coaches in collegiate history, he also will be remembered for his great faith, his love of family and his mentorship of countless young people. He will be profoundly missed."

Bobby Bowden
Bobby Bowden. Rick Dole/Getty

News of Bowden's diagnosis came nine months after the College Football Hall of Famer dealt with what he called a "tough" bout of COVID-19.

In October, Bowden's son Tommy revealed that his father "went through a battle with COVID-19," the Associated Press reported at the time.

Following his release from the hospital, Bowden said in a statement, "Most of you know I'm 91 years old and the fight was tough but thanks to the help of Dr. Michael Forsthoefel, and the support of Ann and all my children, I beat it."

Related Articles