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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Babe Ruth, 53, succumbs to throat cancer
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

Aug. 16, 1948

Babe Ruth, the man who transformed baseball with his powerful swing, dies of cancer of the throat after a two-year battle with the disease. He was 53.

Ruth, who set home-run records for a season (60) and a career (714), had been in critical condition for the past five days at Memorial Hospital in New York. Tonight, he slips into a partial coma. Ruth's wife Claire, their two adopted daughters, his sister and several close friends are at his bedside when he dies. Gathered below on the grimy Manhattan street are more than 150 children.

A half-hour before Ruth's death, he is blessed by Father Thomas Kaufman of the Roman Catholic Church. When asked for Ruth's last words, Father Kaufman replies, "The Babe said his prayers to the very end. He received all the last rites and he died a good Catholic."

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