Kirk Gibson diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease

Former Detroit Tigers outfielder Kirk Gibson has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Gibson released this statement:

“I have faced many different obstacles in my life, and have always maintained a strong belief that no matter the circumstances, I could overcome those obstacles. While this diagnosis poses a new kind of challenge for me, I intend to stay true to my beliefs. With the support of my family and friends, I will meet this challenge with the same determination and unwavering intensity that I have displayed in all of my endeavors in life. I look forward to being back at the ballpark as soon as possible.”

Gibson was initially slated to be a part of a rotating broadcast team for Detroit Tigers telecasts this season, alongside Rod Allen and Jack Morris. However, after making an appearance on Opening Day, he has been absent from every Fox Sports Detroit broadcast since.

“FOX Sports Detroit will welcome Kirk back as his treatment permits, and we look forward to his return,” the station said in a release.

A native of Waterford, Gibson is a Michigan lifer, starring at Michigan State as an All-American wide receiver before opting to pursue a baseball career. Gibson was selected in the first round of the 1979 draft by the Tigers and made his Major League debut later that year.

Gibson went on to spend 12 years in a Tigers uniform, leading Detroit to a World Series title in 1984 after crushing a series-clinching home run deep into the night sky in the bottom of the 8th inning of Game 5 against the San Diego Padres.

In-between stints with the Tigers, Gibson made his name elsewhere, starring for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988, earning the National League MVP award and then connecting on one of the most iconic home runs in baseball history when he hit a pinch-hit, walk-off shot off of Hall of Fame reliever Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the World Series.