Golf legend Arnold Palmer died Sunday, aged 87. The news was confirmed by Arnold Palmer Enterprises CEO Alastair Johnson.
Palmer won seven major championships from 1958 to 1962. From 1960 to 1963 he won five of those championships and a total of 29 PGA Tour events. The Pennsylvania native was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004 and the Congressional Medal of Freedom in 2009.
"Arnold Palmer's magnetic personality and unfailing sense of kindness and thoughtfulness have endeared him to millions throughout the world," Congress wrote in its bill.
In a statement on Twitter, fellow golfer Jack Nicklaus called Palmer "one of the incredible people in the game of golf and in all of sports," who "transcended the game of golf."
Spanish PGA champion Sergio Garcia tweeted: "Very sad news to hear of the passing of the great Arnold Palmer. We will miss you very much. The King and Legend. RIP"
Nicknamed "the King," he's also the namesake of the eponymous iced tea and lemonade drink.
"Palmer was the first iconic superstar of sport's television age, which began in the 1950s, and he connected with people like no other golfer before him," the U.S. Golf Association said in a statement. "Because of Palmer, who came from humble beginnings in Latrobe, Pa., the game transitioned from an upper-class pastime to a sport accessible to the middle and working classes."
Palmer was also a business leader, co-founding the Golf Channel, designing courses and owning clubs. He was one of the first clients of premier sports agency IMG, now owned by William Morris Endeavor and private equity firm Silver Lake.
Television watchers, who may not have known Palmer for his golfing feats, saw him in recent years on commercials as a pitchman for the blood-thinning drug Xarelto with other celebrities, such as comedian Kevin Nealon, NBA player Chris Bosh and racecar driver Brian Vickers.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Palmer died at Pittsburgh's UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, where he was undergoing heart tests.
According to the New York Times, he is survived by wife, Kathleen, three siblings, two children, three stepchildren, seven grandchildren, seven step-grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.
Other associates, golfers and friends have taken to Twitter to express their condolences: