NHL legend Stan Mikita, the Blackhawks' all-time leader in games played, dies at 78

Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita died on Tuesday at 78, according to his family, after a long battle with illness. Mikita is one of the most prominent names in Blackhawks lore. He holds Blackhawks records for games played, points, assists and plus/minus. He trails only one-time teammate Bobby Hull for the team record for goals scored at 541.

Mikita played 22 NHL seasons, every one with the Blackhawks. He won the Hart Trophy as league MVP twice, in 1966 and 1967, and he won the Art Ross Trophy four times.

In the family's statement, they asked for privacy as they mourned the passing of Mikita.

"With great sorrow, the Mikita family announces that Stan passed away on Tuesday August 7, 2018 at the age of 78," the statement said, per the NHL's website. "He was surrounded by his loving family whom he fiercely loved. Details of planned services will be released when they become available. We respectfully ask for privacy at this time." 

Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz also had a statement released on his behalf, which read:

Stan Mikita will be always remembered as a champion, an innovator and a master of the game. He embodied the Chicago Blackhawks. His excellence is illustrated by the team records he still holds today. His passion for the game was proved by the longevity of his playing career. The impact he had on the franchise is proved by fact that Blackhawks fans still wear his jersey to the United Center. On behalf of the Chicago Blackhawks organization and our fans, we express our deepest condolences to the Mikita family and all who mourn Stan's passing.

Mikita was the inspiration for a diner in "Wayne's World," the famous "Stan Mikita's Donuts," run by an extremely curmudgeony Ed O'Neill. About a year and a half ago, "Stan Mikita's Donuts" opened up for real for a weekend in Los Angeles.

Mikita was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983. The Blackhawks also retired his No. 21 after his retirement in 1980.

Mikita was diagnosed with suspected dementia with Lewy Body in 2015, and his health took a turn for the worse. While robbed of his memories, as outlined in a heartbreaking piece in the Chicago Tribune, Mikita's family said in June 2015 that it wouldn't join any of the concussion and CTE lawsuits being brought against the NHL at the time.

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