Arnold Palmer, one of golf's greatest players whose immense popularity drew a legion of fans known as "Arnie's Army" and helped propel the game just as television was coming of age, died Sunday in Pittsburgh at the age of 87, the US Golf Association and golf media reported.
"We are deeply saddened by the death of Arnold Palmer, golf's greatest ambassador, at age 87," the USGA said on Twitter.
We are deeply saddened by the death of Arnold Palmer, golf's greatest ambassador, at age 87. pic.twitter.com/iQmGtseNN1
— USGA (@USGA) September 26, 2016
Palmer captured seven major tournaments during his illustrious career, taking The Masters four times (in 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964), the British Open twice (in 1961 and 1962) and the US Open once (in 1960).
Thanks Arnold for your friendship, counsel and a lot of laughs. Your philanthropy and humility are part of your legend.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) September 26, 2016
His go-for-broke style enthralled fans, and he became one of golf's first television superstars, helping propel the game into the mainstream when his rise and that of Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player set the stage for the huge broadcast rights fees and prize money riches later enhanced by the success of Tiger Woods.
Very sad to hear the passing of Mr. Palmer... Rest In Peace to the forever role model, legend and The King! He will be missed #RIPTheKing
— Lydia Ko (@LydiaKo) September 26, 2016
No cause of death was immediately given.
Palmer looked frail when he joined fellow icons Player and Nicklaus for the ceremonial first tee shot at the Masters in April, when ill-health prevented him from swinging a club.