KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jim Lynch, the hard-hitting linebacker who helped the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings in the 1970 Super Bowl following a standout career at Notre Dame, has died. He was 76.
Lynch's family announced that he died Thursday but did not provide a cause.
Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said Lynch will be remembered as "a mainstay in the linebacking corps during one of the greatest stretches in franchise history."
"Jim Lynch was a consistent force that made the Chiefs defense of the late 60s and early 70s one of the most feared in the game," the statement continued. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Georgia and his entire family."
A statement from Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt on the passing of Chiefs Hall of Fame Linebacker Jim Lynch pic.twitter.com/IJqd7shFzB— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) July 23, 2022
Lynch grew up in Lima, Ohio, and starred for Central Catholic High School before heading to Notre Dame, where he became one of the most dominant players in school history. Lynch led the Fighting Irish in tackles in 1965 and 1966, when he won the Maxwell Award as the nation's best college player while serving as captain of the national championship team.
"I am often asked who was the best player to coach and Jim Lynch always comes to mind," the late Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian once said. "He was All-America in every sense: talented, hard-nosed and honest."
The Chiefs selected him in the second round of the 1967 draft and Lynch quickly became a staple in the lineup, helping them to three playoff appearances and their first Super Bowl title. He wound up playing 11 seasons in the NFL, all in Kansas City, and finished his career with 17 interceptions, 18 sacks and 14 fumble recoveries.
Lynch was inducted into the Chiefs' Hall of Fame in 1990 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992.
He is survived by his wife, Georgia, daughters Megan and Kara, son Jake and nine grandchildren.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.