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Killebrew ends fight vs cancer, looks to hospice

his is a March 19, 2011, file photo showing Minnesota Twins Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew watching from the dugout prior to a spring training baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, in Fort Myers, Fla. Killebrew says he will no longer fight esophageal cancer and is settling in for the final days of his life. TheTwins released a statement on Friday, May 13, 2011, from Killebrew, saying he has "exhausted all options" for treatment and the cancer is incurable.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)T

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew said Friday he will no longer fight his esophageal cancer and is settling in for the final days of his life.

The Minnesota Twins released a statement on Friday from Killebrew, who said he has "exhausted all options" for treatment of the "awful disease" and that the cancer is incurable.

"It is with profound sadness that I share with you that my continued battle with esophageal cancer is coming to an end," he said. "My illness has progressed beyond my doctors' expectation of cure."

The 74-year-old Killebrew said he will enter hospice care.

"I am comforted by the fact that I am surrounded by my family and friends," he said, thanking fans and well-wishers for their support and encouragement. "I look forward to spending my final days in comfort and peace with (wife) Nita by my side."

Killebrew, who lives in Arizona, was diagnosed with cancer in December.

Killebrew hit 573 home runs and made 11 All-Star appearances during his 22-year career spent mostly with the Washington Senators and Twins. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984 and was fifth on the career home run list when he retired in 1975 after one season with the Kansas City Royals.

Killebrew currently ranks 11th on the all-time homer list, and his eight seasons with 40 or more homers still is tied for second in league history to Babe Ruth.

Killebrew was able to travel to Fort Myers, Fla., for his annual stint as a guest instructor at spring training. He was in good spirits, quipping that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire gave him the OK to show up a little late.

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