Tony Gwynn, the Hall of Fame batting champion, died Monday in Poway, Calif., after a long battle with cancer. He was 54.

Baseball's Tony Gwynn Dies

Gwynn’s death was announced by Major League Baseball, reported The New York Times. Over the last few years, the former MLB standout had undergone numerous surgeries for cancer of the mouth and salivary glands. Though he’d continued to serve as San Diego State University's baseball coach throughout his cancer battle, he was forced to go on medical leave in the spring. Gwynn had blamed his cancer on dipping tobacco.

"Major League Baseball today mourns the tragic loss of Tony Gwynn," commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement Monday. "The greatest Padre ever and one of the most accomplished hitters that our game has ever known, whose all-around excellence on the field was surpassed by his exuberant personality and genial disposition in life.”

"For more than 30 years, Tony Gwynn was a source of universal goodwill in the National Pastime, and he will be deeply missed by the many people he touched,” Selig continued.

In his 20-season long career with the MLB’s San Diego Padres, Gwynn amassed 3,141 hits and a batting average of .338. Gwynn led the Padres to a pair of World Series appearances and won eight National League batting titles. During his career, he had five 200-hit seasons and was an All-Star 15 times. Gwynn was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, the first year he was eligible, receiving more than 95% of the vote by sports journalists.

Gwynn is survived by his wife Alicia, daughter Anisha and son Tony Jr. Tony Jr. plays professionally with the Philadelphia Phillies.

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