Dick Hoyt, who became a Boston Marathon icon for pushing his son in a wheelchair during races, died in his sleep on Wednesday. He was 80. Hoyt been dealing with health issues the past few years, according to CBS Boston.
Hoyt pushed his son Rick, who was born a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, in marathons starting in 1977 and in the Boston Marathon in 1980. The duo participated in their final Boston Marathon together in 2014, when Dick Hoyt retired from running. Bryan Lyons replaced Dick Hoyt in 2015 until his death in 2020.
The Boston Athletic Association issued a statement on Wednesday regarding the loss of Hoyt:
"The B.A.A. is tremendously saddened to learn of the passing of Boston Marathon icon Dick Hoyt. Dick personified what it meant to a be a Boston Marathoner, showing determination, passion, and love every Patriots' Day for more than three decades. He was not only a fan-favorite who inspired thousands, but also a loyal friend and father who took pride in spending quality time with his son Rick while running from Hopkinton to Boston."
They B.A.A. noted that the two completed 32 Boston Marathons together and referred to the duo as "Boston Marathon legends":
"The pair's bond and presence throughout the course became synonymous with the Boston Marathon," the association said. "Team Hoyt's 1,000th race together came at the 2009 Boston Marathon, and in 2015 Dick served as Grand Marshal of the race in recognition of his impact on the event and Para Athlete community."
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh took to Twitter to say that he was "deeply saddened" to hear about Dick Hoyt's death.
Dick Hoyt participated in 72 marathons and 257 triathlons in his years as a runner.