SAN DIEGO (CBSLA.com/AP) — Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn has died of cancer at 54.
Gwynn’s sweet left-handed swing made him one of San Diego’s best-loved athletes. He was nicknamed “Mr. Padre” during his 20-year major league career.
“For more than 30 years, Tony Gwynn was a source of universal goodwill in the national pastime, and he will be deeply missed by the many people he touched,” Commissioner Bud Selig said.
Gwynn had been on a medical leave from his job as baseball coach at San Diego State, his alma mater, since late March. Agent John Boggs said Gwynn died Monday at a hospital in suburban Poway.
Gwynn had two operations for cancer in his right cheek between August 2010 and February 2012. The second surgery was complicated, with surgeons removing a facial nerve because it was intertwined with a tumor inside his right cheek. They grafted a nerve from Gwynn’s neck to help him eventually regain facial movement.
Gwynn had said that he believed the cancer was from chewing tobacco.
KNX 1070’s Tom Reopelle reports Gwynn’s career was a rarity in sports after spending his entire 20-year career with the Padres.