MLB legend and Hall of Famer Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron has died, the Atlanta Braves announced on Firday. He was 86. Aaron began his career with the Negro Leagues in 1951 and joined MLB when he was 23. He spent the majority of his career with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and played for the Milwaukee Brewers to close out his career from 1975-1976.
Aaron's number 44 jersey is retired by the Braves and Brewers, and his career numbers truly are remarkable.
Hammerin' Hank was a 25-time All-Star, a World Series champion in 1957, a National League MVP in the same year and a three-time Gold Glove Award recipient, to name just a few of his accomplishments.
Following the news of his death, the baseball world sent out tributes and messages to one of the best to ever do it. Here are some reactions from players and teams:
The Braves gave a tribute to Aaron and changed their Twitter picture to his number 44.
The New York Yankees mourned the loss of the legend.
The Washington Nationals noted that "his contributions to the sport were immeasurable."
Bud Selig released a statement remembering Aaron's contributions on and off the field.
David Ortiz called him the best to ever do it.
Magic Johnson wrote a set of tweets reflecting on what it was like to watch Aaron play, mentioning his post-baseball career as well.
and paved the way for other athletes like me to successfully transition into business.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 22, 2021
Hank Aaron is on the Mount Rushmore for the greatest baseball players of all time! Rest In Peace my friend. Cookie and I are praying for the entire Aaron family. 🙏🏾
Barry Bonds sent his thoughts to the Aaron family.
Frank Thomas called Aaron the definition of class and said he was the greatest of all time.
I’m speechless! RIP to the greatest of all time Mr. Hank Aaron!! I’m just stunned. Hank was the standard of greatness for me. The one man who I acted like a kid around star struck always! He was the definition of class! God Bless you and your family!! #HRKing#HammeringHank🙏🏾🙏🏾— Frank Thomas (@TheBigHurt_35) January 22, 2021
Chipper Jones reflected on the type of person Aaron was.
I can’t imagine what Hank Aaron went through in his lifetime. He had every right to be angry or militant.....but never was! He spread his grace on everything and every one he came in contact with. Epitome of class and integrity. RIP Henry Aaron! #HammerinHank— Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) January 22, 2021
As did Andruw Jones and Dale Murphy.
Nancy and I pass our condolences to all of Hank's family today. So saddened to hear the news of Hank's passing. There was a certain spirit, even a reverence, when in Hank Aaron's presence that you could feel. Grace, strength, integrity. We were blessed to have known him. @Braves— Dale Murphy (@DaleMurphy3) January 22, 2021
Many used the goat emoji for Aaron.
David Ortiz referred to Aaron as "the best."
Marcus Stroman wrote that he was thankful for Hank's heroism.
Jerry Hairston Jr. shared photos from Aaron's career.
It was not just athletes who responded to the news. Here are some reactions from outside of the sports world:
President Barack Obama commented on Aaron's strength, sending prayers to his family.
Hank Aaron was one of the best baseball players we’ve ever seen and one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to the Aaron family and everyone who was inspired by this unassuming man and his towering example. pic.twitter.com/2RZdc82Y18— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 22, 2021
President Jimmy Carter wrote that Aaron was a "breaker of records and racial barriers."
Former Pres. Jimmy Carter: "Rosalynn and I are saddened by the passing of our dear friend Henry Aaron...breaker of records and racial barriers, his remarkable legacy will continue to inspire countless athletes and admirers for generations to come." https://t.co/8wXRvjpXUT pic.twitter.com/LwsEvDMNoY— ABC News (@ABC) January 22, 2021
When I was a kid, learning about Hank Aaron’s life and career meant learning for the first time that folks were still treated differently because of the color of their skin. Also it meant learning about an amount of dignity that I couldn’t possibly comprehend. #RIPHankAaron— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) January 22, 2021
RIP The Hammer—Hank Aaron has passed away. Could he play the game, or what?— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 22, 2021
I’m saddened to learn of Hank’s passing. He was a giant in our game and inspired so many on and off the field. What he endured and how he persevered to surpass the all-time HR record, thought to be unbreakable, was remarkable. My thoughts are with his family and @Braves fans. https://t.co/1WJlerZJw7— Cal Ripken, Jr. (@CalRipkenJr) January 22, 2021
RIP Hank Aaron. An amazing ball player and a true gentleman. I am so honored to have spent time with you and call you a friend. You will be missed!— Barry Larkin (@BarryLarkin) January 22, 2021
I am heartbroken to hear the passing of the legendary Hank Aaron. Hank was one of my heroes and role models. A true giant to the game and the world.— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) January 22, 2021
One of the greatest baseball players of all time. He paved the way for so many others. A true pioneer. pic.twitter.com/Ww7GI9dOWf