Dwight Clark, San Francisco 49ers Receiver Famed for ‘The Catch,’ Dies at 61

The two-time Super Bowl champion had been battling ALS

Dwight Clark San Francisco 49ers
Getty Images

Dwight Clark, the legendary San Francisco 49ers wide receiver famous for propelling the team to their first Super Bowl win with “The Catch,” has died. He was 61.

The two-time Super Bowl champion was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2015 and disclosed his condition in March 2017.

News of his death was made public on Monday via a message from his wife, Kelly, on Clark’s Twitter feed.

His former team went on to release a statement that read: “The San Francisco 49ers family has suffered a tremendous loss today with the passing of Dwight Clark. We extend our condolences and prayers to Dwight’s wife, Kelly, his family, friends and fans, as we join together to mourn the death of one of the most beloved figures in 49ers history.

“For almost four decades, he served as a charismatic ambassador for our team and the Bay Area. Dwight’s personality and his sense of humor endeared him to everyone he came into contact with, even during his most trying times. The strength, perseverance and grace with which he battled ALS will long serve as an inspiration to so many. Dwight will always carry a special place in our hearts and his legacy will live on as we continue to battle this terrible disease.”

Clark went down in NFL history for his miraculous play in the 1982 NFC Championship game when he caught the winning touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Montana. The Niners went on to win their first Super Bowl the following month. That period is considered to be the unofficial beginning of a dynasty that would see San Francisco win four world championships in the ’80s, along with eight playoff appearances over 10 seasons.

When the 49ers closed down Candlestick Park in 2013, “The Catch” was named the No. 1 play in the stadium’s history, ESPN reported. The team has since relocated to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Originally from Kinston, North Carolina, Clark played college football for Clemson before going to the Niners as the first pick of the 10th round of the 1979 NFL Draft.

He retired in 1987 after eight seasons.

Clark is survived by his wife, Kelly, and three children — daughter Casey, and sons Riley and Mac — from a previous marriage.

See footage of “The Catch” in the commemorative tweets below.