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Former NFL Quarterback Ken Stabler Dies

Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler, right, and receiver Fred Biletnikoff celebrate the Raiders' 1976 Super Bowl victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

The Oakland Raiders say their former star quarterback Ken Stabler died from complications associated with colon cancer. Stabler was 69.

NPR's Tom Goldman tells our Newscast unit:

"It was one of the iconic images of the 1970s NFL — left-handed Kenny Stabler dropping back to pass, long hair flopping out of the bottom of his helmet. More often than not, he'd complete the throw to star receivers such as Fred Biletnikoff, Cliff Branch and Dave Casper.

"Stabler was nicknamed 'the snake' for his ability to elude and slither away from defenders.

"Former Raiders head coach John Madden said if he had one drive to win a game, he'd pick Stabler to lead it.

"During his 10 years with the team, Stabler led Oakland to five straight conference championships and a Super Bowl title in 1977."

Stabler's family released a statement, saying he died on Wednesday, "surrounded by the people he loved most, including his three daughters and longtime partner, as some of his favorite songs played in the background, such as Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Sweet Home Alabama' and Van Morrison's 'Leaves Falling Down.' "

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