MINNEAPOLIS – Hall of Fame defensive end Chris Doleman died Tuesday night after a battle with cancer, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced in a statement. He was 58.
“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Chris Doleman after a prolonged and courageous battle against cancer,” said David Baker, the Hall of Fame’s president and CEO. “I had the honor of getting to know him not only as a great football player but an outstanding human being. One of the honors of my life was witnessing Chris get baptized in the Jordan River during a Hall of Fame trip to Israel.
“The legacy of Chris Doleman will live forever in Canton, Ohio, for generations to learn from how he lived a life of courage and character.”
Doleman played for the Minnesota Vikings from 1985 to 1993 and ended his career with the club in 1999.
In 2018, he had surgery to remove a brain tumor.
Chris Doleman was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. He was selected to eight Pro Bowls. Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images
Doleman, a first-round pick by the Vikings in the 1985 NFL draft, played for nine seasons with Minnesota before spending the 1994 and 1995 campaigns with the Atlanta Falcons and 1996 to 1998 with the San Francisco 49ers. He wrapped up his career in Minneapolis as an eight-time Pro Bowler.
Doleman totaled 150.5 sacks — with 22 coming during the 1989 season when he led the NFL — along with eight interceptions and three touchdowns. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
“The Minnesota Vikings express our deepest sympathies to Chris Doleman’s family and friends upon his passing,” the team said in a statement. “Chris was a great example for players past and present, as he embodied all the best characteristics of a Viking — resilience, toughness and a competitive spirit. Chris always carried himself with dignity and class. Vikings fans worldwide will greatly miss him.”