In six games as a starter, Piccolo gained 450 yards. He scored four touchdowns. Only as I’ve gotten older have I come to understand that the public nature of his short battle with cancer and his death, and everything good that followed, actually made it harder for me to let myself grieve my own loss. unfortunately for me, they got it -- from Gale Sayers.". Brian Piccolo was a 26 year-old running back for the Chicago Bears in the fall of 1969 when he developed a cough and difficulty breathing. He was 26-years-old, married to his high-school sweetheart, and the father of three little girls, ages four, three, and one. Piccolo was re-admitted to the hospital in early June, bothered by chest They enjoyed a full day of touring the museum … At a ceremony in New York, Sayers gave an emotional speech saying there was somebody more deserving of the award. Associated With. He played football for the Chicago Bears and that team and the city loved him. Despite a lack of speed, Piccolo received two scholarship offers -- and he chose Wake Forest over Wichita State. Millions of dollars have been raised for cancer research in his memory; a park and a stadium in his hometown of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. and a school in Chicago are all named after him; and there are scholarships in his honor, among so many other wonderful tributes. I remember leaning up against the iron fence that ran alongside our house in Chicago drinking lemon-lime Gatorade with him after he finished working out. The Bears signed him as a free agent. Family Lives On is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Brian G J Piccolo was born in month 1947, at birth place, to Stearne. I try really hard to live for today, not sweat the small stuff, be kind, and make time for the people who are important to me. Piccolo spent a year on the Bears' taxi squad before rushing 258 times for 927 yards and catching 58 passes for 537 yards from 1966-69. “And then there was Halas. I know that grief is a journey and the process is a little bit different for everyone. It is all part of healing. Piccolo married his high school sweetheart, Joy Murrath, on December 26 and signed a free-agent contract with the Bears three days later. "He has Tonight, when you hit your knees, please for granted. When he was three, the family moved to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where the warm climate was beneficial to his brother Don, who had health problems. on June 16, 1970. The two became the first white and black men to room together "There's no question that Brian Piccolo's story was amplified by the movie. I can only speak to my own experience. Piccolo became the starter. When you’re sad and really don’t want to talk about it, it’s ok. Because I was four when he died, I also have my own precious recollections of time spent with him. My mom, my aunts and uncles, my grandparents, and his friends have given me a treasure trove of stories and pictures. For kids who have lost a parent or a caregiver, I will tell you that there is no wrong or right way to grieve. Piccolo began chemotherapy treatments and spent Christmas at home with his wife and three young daughters. "Brian Piccolo is a legend at St. Thomas and knowing that I represented the same school is definitely special," said Kirton, who received a football scholarship to Harvard University. !” Those 10 words out of the mouth of a four-year-old convey the anger, confusion, pain, and sadness that a loss like this one has and are as much a part of me now as they were when I said them 49 years ago. When you want to yell, scream, or cry about it, that’s ok too. She told Dan Pompei of The Athletic that she may not have survived Piccolo’s death without Halas. She and Sayers have a daughter and two sons, each of whom has two children. His passion was baseball, which he considered his primary sport through high school. Brian Piccolo was a backup Chicago Bears running back and died of cancer at ... Piccolo was born on Oct. 31, 1943 in Pittsfield, Mass. pain, and it was determined the cancer had spread to other organs. On April 9, 1970, his left lung and left breast were removed. I love Brian Piccolo, and I'd He died "But competition, the game, it's glorious. becoming a great NFL running back.