Bill Buckner, the former Red Sox baseball player and former all-star, has died, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap.
Schaap confirmed the sad news on Twitter. He shared a statement from Buckner’s wife, Jody Buckner, that read in part: “Bill Buckner passed away early the morning of May 27th surrounded by his family. Bill fought with courage and grit as he did all things in life. Our hearts are broken but we are at peace knowing he is in the arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Bill was 69.”
It was a sad week for American sports; the day before Buckner died, football great Bart Starr passed away.
What was the cause of death? How did Bill Buckner die?
Here’s what you need to know
Buckner Suffered From Lewy Body Dementia
Schaap wrote that he got the news from Buckner’s wife Jody, who called to tell him that her husband “the great Bill Buckner, one of the finest men I’ve known,” had died on the morning of May 27, 2019. She told Schaap that Buckner died “after battling the disease of Lewy Body Dementia.”
Buckner is known for the ground ball that skirted through his legs in the 1986 World Series. He played for many teams in Major League Baseball, including the Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, Angels and Royals.
Lewy Body Dementia Is a Common Form of the Ailment
Lewy body dementia, Bill Buckner’s cause of death, is “also known as dementia with Lewy bodies,” and “is the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease dementia. Protein deposits, called Lewy bodies, develop in nerve cells in the brain regions involved in thinking, memory and movement (motor control),” according to the Mayo Clinic.
“Lewy body dementia causes a progressive decline in mental abilities. People with Lewy body dementia may experience visual hallucinations and changes in alertness and attention. Other effects include Parkinson’s disease-like signs and symptoms such as rigid muscles, slow movement and tremors,” Mayo Clinic explains.
Buckner’s Wife, Jody, Served as His Protector
Until the end, Buckner’s wife, Jody, the mother of his three children, remained at his side. Over the years, Newsday reported, she was known for shielding him from journalists’ prying questions.
“Just too much time away. My wife has put up with it for 30-something years. I know that Jody would want me to be home. It was just the right thing to do. I’ve been doing it a long time, and it’s been great. I will miss it. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed working with the kids. Some of them I worked with the last couple years are getting at-bats in spring training now. That’s fun to watch,” Buckner once said.
You can read more about Jody Buckner and Bill Buckner’s family here.
According to the Society for American Baseball Research, William Joseph Buckner “was born on December 14, 1949, in Vallejo, California.”
His parents were Leonard and Marie Katherine Buckner. His father died, though, when he was in his teens, according to the site.
Buckner’s mother worked for a stenographer for the California Highway Patrol and his stepdad Harold Eugene McCall was a CHP officer. Bill Buckner had three siblings, the site reports.
The Society for American Baseball Research article reports that his wife, Jody, said the family moved to escape the critics.
In the summer of 1993, “Bill and his wife moved their three children, daughters Brittany and Christen and a son, Bobby, to a ranch in Meridian, Idaho. Buckner’s wife, Jody, described one of the primary benefits of the location, pointing out that Meridian ‘isn’t a sports town. Nobody in this town would talk about Willie in a derogatory way,’” according to the article.
The article was excerpting a portion of the biography “The 1986 Boston Red Sox: There Was More Than Game Six,” edited by Bill Nowlin and Leslie Heaphy.