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Hall Of Fame Broadcaster Dead At 82

Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Brickhouse, for four decades the voice of the Chicago Cubs, died early Thursday at age 82.

Brickhouse was pronounced dead at St. Joseph Health Centers & Hospital near his home on the North Side. Hospital spokeswoman Victoria Higgins said doctors listed the cause of death as cardiac arrest.

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  • She said Brickhouse was brought to St. Joseph by Chicago Fire Department ambulance shortly before 1 a.m. after he was found unconscious at home.

    Brickhouse underwent brain surgery March 3 for a 2-centimeter tumor doctors discovered after his leg gave way while he was getting dressed to attend the Feb. 28 funeral of Harry Caray, who replaced Brickhouse in the Cubs' television booth in 1982.

    Doctors said the surgery was successful and Brickhouse was discharged in April after undergoing therapy at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

    Brickhouse spent nearly four decades broadcasting the Cubs, first on WGN radio and later TV. He also broadcast the Chicago Bears for 24 years and worked games of the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls.

    His home run call was famous:

    "Back, back, back. That's it! Hey-hey! Hey-hey!"

    He was honored at Wrigley Field in 1979 for his 5,000th broadcast. He retired in 1981 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983.

    He began his radio career at age 18 in 1934 in his hometown of Peoria, grossing $17 a week. He came to Chicago in 1940 and later was working 80-hour weeks.

    "One time in 1954 I did three shows on three networks in 24 hours," Brickhouse once said. "First I broadcast the final game of the World Series, in Cleveland. Then back to Chicago for a wrestling show at night. Then I took the train to Green Bay for the Bears game the next day."

    Brickhouse also put his voice to barn dances, man-on-the-street shows, political conventions and conducted one-on-one interviews with six presidents. He covered both of the national conventions in 1944 for the Mutual Broadcasting System and worked conventions in 1960, 1964 and 1968 for WGN-TV.

    A stretch of Michigan Avenue near the Chicago Tribune'sbuilding is named "Jack Brickhouse Way."

    "Saturdays and Sundays, which were supposed to be the rest of the world's leisure days, were my big days because my job was to give listeners or viewers some relaxation from the tough week they might have had," Brickhouse said.

    Brickhouse, who covered the White Sox' last World Series appearance in 1959, once said he would have liked to have seen a postseason meeting between Chicago's two baseball teams, but he declined to play favorites in that daydream.

    "Ernie Banks would come back and hit a home run," he fantasized. "The seventh and final game would be called because of darkness."

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