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Golf Icon Arnold Palmer Dies at Age 87
Golf legend Arnold Palmer, whose impact on the game was immeasurable, died Sunday at age 87.
Palmer was admitted to the UPMC Hospital in Pittsburgh on Thursday for cardiovascular treatment and weakened over the past few days, according to Alastair Johnston, CEO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, the Associated Press reported.
"He was an iconic American who treated people with respect and warmth, and built a unique legacy through his ability to engage with fans," Johnston said.
Palmer captured seven major championships and 62 PGA Tour wins and is ranked among the most important figures in golf history. His fans worldwide were referred to as "Arnie's Army."
Palmer played in his last Masters tournament in 2004, but hit the ceremonial tee shot every year until 2016, when he was forced to stop due to his age and balance problems.
"Arnold transcended the game of golf," said fellow golf great Jack Nicklaus. "He was more than a golfer or even great golfer. He was an icon. He was a legend. Arnold was someone who was a pioneer in his sport. He took the game from one level to a higher level, virtually by himself. Along the way, he had millions of adoring fans.
"He was the king of our sport and always will be, Nicklaus added."
"If it wasn't for Arnold, golf wouldn't be as popular as it is now," Tiger Woods said in 2004 when Palmer played in his last Masters, the AP reported.
"He's the one who basically brought it to the forefront on TV. If it wasn't for him and his excitement, his flair, the way he played, golf probably would not have had that type of excitement," Woods said. "And that's why he's the king."
President Barack Obama tweeted: "Here's to The King who was as extraordinary on the links as he was generous to others. Thanks for the memories, Arnold."