NEW YORK -- Harmon Killebrew kept the statement simple.
He kept it as positive as he could, given the circumstances. How positive can you be when you tell the world that the battle with cancer is nearing an end, and that cancer is winning the fight?
But the statement Killebrew released Friday emphasized the "benefits" of hospice care, and of how Killebrew was "very comfortable taking this next step."
We shouldn't be surprised. This is how Harmon Killebrew lived his life, how he played, and now how that life is coming to an end.
"Classy guy," longtime teammate Jim Kaat said Friday at Yankee Stadium.
Kaat and Killebrew were together from the time Kaat joined the Washington Senators in 1958, through the team's move to Minnesota, and all the way until Kaat went to the White Sox midway through the 1973 season.
They remained close enough that Kaat will emcee a dinner for Killebrew's foundation, to be held on June 29, Killebrew's 75th birthday.
"He was hoping to come," Kaat said. "I talked to him just the other day, and he said, 'It's going to be tough to get to Minnesota.' I could tell he had slowed down."
The Killebrew that Kaat remembers is one who was always a total professional, a man who was one of the top home run hitters ever but preferred not to draw too much attention to himself.
"He kind of set the tone for the Twins, of being a little vanilla, gentlemanly," Kaat said. "If somebody threw a helmet, you could almost feel Harmon glaring at them."
There are no doubt those who would like to throw a helmet now, upset with the news that Killebrew is in the final days of life.
Don't do it. Don't throw it. Harmon may still be glaring at you.