(CBS) — Family, friends, fellow athletes and fans said goodbye Friday to legendary Chicago Bears linebacker Doug Buffone.
Mourners gathered at Old St. Pat’s Church to pay final respects to Buffone, 70, who was found dead in his Chicago home Monday.
He played 14 seasons for the Bears.
“We have truly, truly lost an icon,” sports broadcaster Chet Coppick said Friday.
He said Buffone represented “everything George Hallas wanted the Chicago bears to be, everything the blue and orange were meant to be.”
Among those who attended the service was former Mayor Richard Daley, who called Buffone a “very kind man.”
In 1966, Buffone was a fourth-round draft pick from Louisville, the son of a coal miner who found fame on the football field but who friends say was always a humble guy.
In fact, one former broadcast partner says a “roast” held in Buffone’s honor proved to be a big challenge.
“There was nothing nasty to say about him,” Hub Arkush said.
He says Buffone was the first ex-players tell it like it is. Buffone co-hosted a popular postgame show on 670 The Score with Ed O’Bradovich. Often the two would erupt if the Bears played poorly, to the delight of fans.
“People ask, ‘Gee, what did the Bears think?’ The Bears loved him like everybody else,” Arkush said.
They still do.
“He wasn’t afraid to express his opinions,” Bears chairman George McCaskey told CBS 2’s Mike Parker. “He didn’t hold back.”
Buffone leaves behind a wife, Dana, and six children. His burial at Graceland Cemetery will be private Saturday morning.