Hall of Fame Coach Mike Ditka Hospitalized After Suffering Heart Attack

(Photo: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)

Legendary retired NFL player and coach Mike Ditka suffered a heart attack earlier this week, according to his agent.

“Coach Ditka had a mild heart attack earlier this week. Doctors inserted a pacemaker, and he is doing much better,” Ditka’s agent, Steve Mandell, told ESPN. “He appreciates the outpouring of support and expects to be home soon.”

Ditka, 79, was playing golf Wednesday in Florida before he was hospitalized, according to reports from the Chicago Sun Times and WGN.

Ditka suffered a heart attack in 1988 — the same year he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player — while coaching the Chicago Bears but famously returned to work just 11 days later. He also suffered a stroke in 2012.

Ditka, a Super Bowl-winner both as a player and a coach, coached the Bears to the franchise’s only championship in 1986 — a feat that made him one of the most beloved figures in Chicago sports history.

Since being fired as head coach of the New Orleans Saints in 2000, Ditka has spent time in the restaurant business and as a national TV NFL analyst.

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SOURCE: AJ Neuharth-Keusch
USA TODAY