By Rob Hamilton

The legendary quarterback, both for the University of Alabama and for the Oakland Raiders, Ken Stabler, has passed away at age 69.

Ken Stabler was born on Christmas Day in Foley, Alabama in 1945. He was an athlete in multiple sports at Foley High School. Football was where he excelled and it was during that time at Foley High that he earned the nickname that would stick with him throughout his life… The Snake.

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Bear Bryant recruited Stabler to Alabama and his college career began there in 1964. Stabler learned under some impressive leaders as freshmen were not allowed to play at that time. So Stabler stood on the sideline each week and watched as Joe Namath lead the Crimson Tide to a national championship.

He helped guide ‘Bama to back to back titles in his sophomore year. The team finished third in the polls his junior year and in his senior year he made one of the most famous Iron Bowl plays in Alabama history, known as “The Run In The Mud.”

After college he had a distinguished career as QB for the Oakland Raiders. He guided that team to a Super Bowl win in his first year as a Raider in Super Bowl XI.

He traded eight years later to Houston, then to New Orleans. He joined CBS after his playing career as a color commentator.

Then Ken Stabler went home.

Back to Alabama Stabler moved, where he joined Eli Gold for 11 years and was the color analyst for his alma mater.

The Stabler family issued the following statement:

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“We announce with great sadness that our father, Ken Stabler, passed away Wednesday, July 8 as a result of complications associated with colon cancer.

He passed peacefully surrounded by the people he loved most, including his three daughters and longtime partner, as some of his favorite songs played in the background, such as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and Van Morrison’s “Leaves Falling Down.”

He quietly battled Stage 4 colon cancer since being diagnosed in February 2015.

He wanted to make a difference in the lives of others in both life and death. At his request, his brain and spinal cord were donated to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center to support research for degenerative brain disease in athletes.

He was a kind, generous and unselfish man, never turning down an autograph request or opportunity to help someone in need. A great quarterback, he was an even greater father to his three girls and grandfather to his two “grand snakes.”

We are grateful for the tremendous love and support from friends and fans. We ask that you please respect our privacy during this difficult time as we grieve this heartbreaking loss.

Funeral arrangements are pending. In lieu of flowers, we ask donations be made to the XOXO Stabler Foundation to support research of colon cancer and sports-related head trauma. More information will be available on Ken Stabler’s Facebook fan page and the XOXO Stabler Foundation.

He is survived by his three daughters Kendra Stabler Moyes (husband Scott), Alexa (fiance, Hunter Adams) and Marissa; his grandsons Jack and Justin Moyes; sister Carolyn Bishop; nephew Scott Bishop; and great nephew and niece Tayler and Payton Biship. He is preceded in death by his father, Leroy Stabler, and mother, Sally Stabler.”

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Our own Randy Cross was friends with Ken Stabler throughout his years in the NFL and CBS. Read Randy’s article about the passing of Kenny here.