Boston Red Sox broadcaster, ex-player Jerry Remy dies at age 68

Jerry Remy, a former player for the Boston Red Sox who later became part of the broadcast booth covering the team for NESN, died Saturday night at the age of 68.

Remy had stepped away from his role as a NESN analyst for Red Sox games on Aug. 4 to undergo treatment for lung cancer. He said at the time that "as I've done before and will continue to do so, I will battle this with everything I have."

He returned to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Oct. 5 when the Red Sox faced the New York Yankees in the American League Wild Card Game. He was brought out to the field on a cart and, while wearing a nasal cannula to take in supplemental oxygen, threw out the pitch to Dennis Eckersley, his former teammate and one of his broadcast booth partners.

"We are saddened by the loss of a beloved player, broadcaster, and 13-year cancer warrior," Red Sox owner John Henry said in a statement. "Jerry's love and connection to baseball didn't allow anything to stand between the game and him, including for many years cancer. He devoted his entire career to baseball and whether from his seat in the clubhouse or his perch above the field in the broadcast booth, he took generations of rising Red Sox stars and a multitude of fans along for the ride with him. During his lifetime, he witnessed great triumphs and terrible tragedies handling all of it with grace, dignity, and a huge heart. He left an indelible mark on this club and on an entire nation of Red Sox fans."

Remy, a former smoker, was initially diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008. He suffered relapses multiple times, including this year.

"Jerry Remy grew up in Massachusetts rooting for the Red Sox and lived his dream as a player and beloved broadcaster with the team. He forged a personal connection with Boston fans and inspired many with his fight against cancer. The Players Association joins Jerry's family, friends and fans in mourning his loss," the MLB Players Association said in a statement.

Former teammate Fred Lynn was among those to pay tribute to Remy on social media, tweeting: "I lost a great teammate and friend today. A true gamer and important part of all of Red Sox Nation. R.I.P. Remdog."

Don Orsillo, his onetime broadcast partner with NESN, tweeted: "Thank you for 21 years of friendship. I am nowhere today without you. Showed me the right @MLB way. I know I will text you 3 times a day still. I am lost. #RIPRem @RedSox @NESN."

"Red Sox Nation lost a beloved icon. I lost a longtime friend, teammate and broadcast partner. He will be missed by all. Fenway Park will never be the same again," Eckersley said in a statement released by NESN.

Remy, who was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, on Nov. 8, 1952, played second base for the Red Sox from 1978 to 1984 and joined the NESN booth in 1988, becoming a beloved broadcaster for the franchise.

Known as "RemDawg'' by generations of New Englanders, Remy was elected by fans as first president of "Red Sox Nation'' late in the 2007 season. The club had decided to capitalize on the passions of followers who were known by that name by creating a formal fan club.

He was selected to his lone All-Star Game in 1978 when he hit .278 with 24 doubles, 6 triples, 2 home runs and 33 RBIs. He also stole 30 bases.

Remy began his major league career with the California Angels in 1975 and spent his first three seasons with that organization. Overall, he hit .275 with 140 doubles, 38 triples, 7 home runs and 399 RBIs. He also had 208 stolen bases during his 10 years in the majors.

Remy is survived by his wife, Phoebe, two sons, a daughter and two grandchildren. The family released a statement Monday thanking Red Sox ownership, the fan base and Remy's team of doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital.

"Jerry lived and breathed Red Sox baseball. Playing for his hometown team was a dream come true, and to have the opportunity to have a second career as the voice of the Red Sox was all that he could have asked for," the statement read. "'Thank you' doesn't adequately express the gratitude we feel for the fans. Over the last 13 years, we went through this ordeal with all of you rooting for us and offering words of hope. He heard you -- we all heard you -- and it was the love from all of you that helped him fight this battle for more than a decade."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.