Bay Area icon and former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dwight Clark has passed away at the age of 61 after a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). News of his passing was posted by his wife, Kelly, using Dwight's official Twitter account.


Clark spent nine years with the 49ers, the team that selected him out of Clemson in the 10th round of the 1979 draft, and is best known for "The Catch." He is the man who helped catapult the 49ers franchise into relevance on January 10, 1982. "The Catch" is iconic and a play in 49ers history that will forever be remembered by the fans who witnessed it and pass on those memories to future generations.

Clark was selected to the Pro Bowl twice (1981, 1982) and was a two-time All-Pro (1981, 1982). He led the NFL in receptions during the 1982 season and won two Super Bowls with the 49ers (XVI, XIX).

In March of 2017, it was revealed that Clark was battling ALS. The former receiver started feeling weakness in his left hand in September of 2015 but attributed it to possible nerve damage. Months of tests and treatment finally revealed the horrifying diagnosis.

"While I'm still trying to wrap my head around the challenge I will face with this disease over the coming years, the only thing I know is that I'm going to fight like hell and live every day to the fullest," Clark said via an announcement that March.

RELATED Carmen Policy describes Eddie DeBartolo-hosted gathering for Dwight Clark

The 49ers organization honored Clark at halftime during a regular-season game against the Dallas Cowboys on October 22, 2017. Over 30 of his former teammates, including Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, were at the game that Sunday to help honor the former wide receiver.

"It was spectacular," Clark said later that week during an interview on KNBR. "I mean, I can't believe how many players they flew in and how many actually wanted to come. I got to spend an hour-and-a-half seeing them and reminiscing a little bit. Having Eddie (DeBartolo Jr.) there was awesome. It was just a special day."

Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. hosted a gathering for Clark in April. It included former 49ers players, teammates, coaches, and staffers for three days to share memories and laughs with Clark.

"We went there for Dwight, but I think all of us who were there became the biggest beneficiaries," said former 49ers president Carmen Policy last month. "Because it was like, here's the final piece of this puzzle, and now you see the big picture, and you fully understand what we were all about, what it was all about, and how we really truly do have something that's very special."

Following his playing days, Clark served as the 49ers' EVP and director of football operations for years before being named general manager in 1998. He was the general manager and director of football operations for the Cleveland Browns from 1999 until May of 2002.

Clark's jersey number (87) is retired by the 49ers and is proudly displayed on the team's Ring of Honor at Levi's Stadium.

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