Hall of Fame Oakland Raiders cornerback Willie Brown died on Tuesday. He was 78.

No cause of death was immediately given for the cornerback, although Brown had been suffering from cancer.

Brown led the Raiders to their first Super Bowl title in January 1977 after making a brilliant play in the contest against the Minnesota Vikings. Brown intercepted a pass from QB Fran Tarkenton and ran for a touchdown to make the score 32-0. The five-time first-team All-Pro cornerback — who played 12 seasons in Oakland — retired with the Raiders two seasons later and was ultimately inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984. Before his tenure in Oakland, Brown played four seasons with the Denver Broncos, who signed him as an undrafted player out of Louisiana’s Grambling State in 1963.

In addition to his time as a player, Brown also served as an assistant coach for the Raiders from 1979 to 1988 and rejoined the franchise as director of staff development in 1995. He was also a coach at Long Beach Sate in 1991.

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Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker paid tribute to Brown in a statement shared with local Oakland television station KTVU.


“The entire Hall of Fame family mourns the loss of a great man,” Baker said in the statement. “Willie Brown was the epitome of the Raiders motto of ‘commitment to excellence’ that was integral to the team’s sustained success. He embodied virtues like passion, integrity, perseverance and always led by example. His character, on and off the field, made all those around him better.”

The Raiders, including quarterback Derek Carr, also shared their sentiments on the legend’s passing:

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