The world lost an icon today as the legendary Hank Aaron passed away at the age of 86. A symbol of Atlanta, the Hall of Fame baseball great was not only one of the best athletes of all-time but a pioneer for the Civil Rights movement in America. Some names transcend whatever field made them famous and Hank Aaron was undoubtedly one of those illustrious few.
In honor of Hammerin’ Hank, both Atlanta United and the Atlanta Falcons will retire the No. 44 for the duration of their respective 2021 seasons.
Forever in our hearts. Forever a part of Atlanta.— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) January 22, 2021
No. 44 will be dedicated to Hank Aaron this season https://t.co/yLuo5YZooV pic.twitter.com/TxGi5tZfCe
“To celebrate the incredible life and career of baseball legend Hank Aaron, we are proud to retire the No. 44 this season for our Atlanta United and ATLUTD 2 teams,” said Atlanta United President Darren Eales. “He was an American hero, a trailblazer and arguably Atlanta’s greatest sports icon. The impact he had on our city, our country and the sports world is immeasurable. Hank Aaron will undoubtedly live on through the countless lives he touched and through the young athletes across the globe who he has inspired.”
Earlier in the day, owner Arthur Blank issued this statement paying tribute to one of Atlanta’s biggest cultural heroes:
“We are heartbroken and saddened by this morning’s passing of baseball legend, trailblazer and icon, Henry “Hank” Aaron. He not only made a great impact on the diamond, but in society as well with his caring and genuine spirit, always taking the time to be a friend to all. As an original member of the Falcons Board of Directors, he served as a mentor to so many of our players throughout the years, providing a source of knowledge and support on what it takes to build a winning culture while always displaying a great deal of humility. We loved Hank and his wife, Billye, and we are truly saddened by his passing. May he rest in peace.”
Rest in peace, Hank.