Minnesota sports columnist and radio personality Sid Hartman, an old-school home team booster who once ran the NBA's Minneapolis Lakers and achieved nearly as much celebrity as some of the athletes he covered, died Sunday. He was 100.
Hartman, whose first newspaper column was published in 1945, died surrounded by his family, Star Tribune sports editor Chris Carr said.
"It's a sad day," Carr told The Associated Press. "He is the Star Tribune in many ways, at least in the sports department. It speaks to his amazing life that even and 100 and a half years old, he passes away and we still can't believe it."
He kept up his age-defying pace even after his 100th birthday party on March 15 was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Hartman continued to write three columns per week for the Star Tribune as a centenarian, four during football season, and served as co-host of a Sunday morning radio show on WCCO-AM in Minneapolis.
"I have followed the advice that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life," Hartman wrote in his column published on his 100th birthday. "Even at 100, I can say I still love what I do."
The Minnesota Vikings released the following statement on Sunday following the news of Hartman's passing:
"Our hearts are broken with the news of Sid Hartman's passing. It is nearly impossible to put into words what Sid meant to the sports world and to Minnesota. He was an iconic sports figure, a tenacious reporter and a tireless advocate for his beloved state. His doggedness and work ethic were unmatched, but it was Sid's ability to nurture relationships that truly set him apart. He was a confidant and a loyal friend to countless athletes and coaches across the country.
The impact Sid had on collegiate and professional sports can never be replicated and will never be forgotten. His presence and his personality were constants during the Vikings first 60 seasons. Sid welcomed our family to town in 2005, and we will always appreciate his support for us as owners and for the Vikings franchise. Our prayers are with the entire Hartman family."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.