MINNEAPOLIS – The Vikings, the state of Minnesota and the entire world of sports said good-bye to a true legend Sunday afternoon.
Longtime sports reporter Sid Hartman passed away at the age of 100. His final column for the Star Tribune, a spotlight on Adam Thielen and the Vikings, ran Sunday morning.
The Vikings released the following statement from Owners Mark and Zygi Wilf:
Our hearts are broken with the news of Sid Hartman's passing. It is nearly impossible to put into words what Sid meant to the sports world and to Minnesota. He was an iconic sports figure, a tenacious reporter and a tireless advocate for his beloved state. His doggedness and work ethic were unmatched, but it was Sid's ability to nurture relationships that truly set him apart. He was a confidant and a loyal friend to countless athletes and coaches across the country.
The impact Sid had on collegiate and professional sports can never be replicated and will never be forgotten. His presence and his personality were constants during the Vikings first 60 seasons. Sid welcomed our family to town in 2005, and we will always appreciate his support for us as owners and for the Vikings franchise. Our prayers are with the entire Hartman family.
Those familiar with Hartman's journalism journey know he had countless "close, personal friends." But Hartman had just one best friend: Hall of Famer Bud Grant, who coached from the Vikings from 1967-83 and again in 1985. Over the years, he's corrected reporters who referred to Hartman as a friend, insisting that the adjective "best" be added.
Grant called into WCCO Radio early Sunday evening. Despite having earned a reputation of stoicism on the sidelines, he did not hide his emotion in the wake of Hartman's passing.
"I'm glad you didn't call two hours earlier – I was crying for a couple hours," Grant told WCCO's Dave Lee and Mike Max. "If you mention the word 'Sid' in the state of Minnesota, there's only one Sid."
Grant recalled meeting Hartman while playing for the Great Lakes Naval Academy during World War II.
"We played a basketball game up here against Minnesota, and Sid came in and introduced himself to me in the locker room and said, 'Where are you going to school when your service is over?' I said, 'Sid, we've got a war to win first,' " Grant said. "But that's the way Sid thought. … He had his ear to the ground his whole life."
Following the Vikings loss to the Falcons at U.S. Bank Stadium, Head Coach Mike Zimmer reflected on his relationship with Hartman:
"Sid was a great man, a great sportswriter, great friend of us. It's a sad day," Zimmer said. "We're definitely going to miss him. I always looked forward to when he was able to come into the facility and sit down in my office and just talk about all different things, but he was a great man – a very generous, very caring, a very smart man."
View photos of legendary sports reporter, Sid Hartman, who passed away on Sunday.
Thielen, a Minnesota native and regular interviewee of Hartman over the years, called Hartman a "Minnesota icon."
"I just did a story for him the other day," Thielen said. "He was obviously a big part of this organization and was always around the facility [before the COVID-19 pandemic]. I just wanted to start out with that."
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was notified of Hartman's passing and also extended condolences to the Hartman family.
"I'm so grateful that I got to meet him and I got to know him," Cousins said. "What a life he lived, what a legacy he left, and I'll be praying for their family in the days ahead."
Added safety Anthony Harris: "I want to take the time to send my condolences to Sid's family. Thoughts and prayers with them right now as they go through this tough time."
Former Vikings Randy Moss, Robert Smith and Kevin McDermott were among those Sunday afternoon who immediately reflected on the life and legacy of Hartman.
Vikings Executive Vice President of Football Operation Rob Brzezinski also tweeted a tribute to Hartman:
Vikings.com Staff Writer/Assistant Editor Lindsey Young contributed to this post.