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Hank Aaron dies at 86

Atlanta Braves' Hank Aaron eyes the flight of the ball after hitting his 715th career homer in...
Atlanta Braves' Hank Aaron eyes the flight of the ball after hitting his 715th career homer in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Atlanta, Ga., in this April 8, 1974 file photo. Dodgers pitcher Al Downing, catcher Joe Ferguson and umpire David Davidson look on. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given.(AP Photo/Harry Harrris, FIle)
Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 12:35 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 22, 2021 at 10:33 PM CST
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ATLANTA (AP) - Baseball great and former home run king Hank Aaron has died.

The Atlanta Braves said he died peacefully in his sleep early Friday. No cause was given. He was 86.

Aaron made his last public appearance less than two weeks ago when he received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Aaron endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era. His record stood for more than 33 years.

“Hammerin’ Hank” set multiple hitting records during a 23-year career spent mostly with the Braves, including RBIs, extra-base hits and total bases. But the Hall of Famer will be remembered for one swing above all others.

On April 8, 1974, before a sellout crowd at Atlanta Stadium and a national television audience, Aaron broke Ruth’s home run record with No. 715 off Al Downing of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Aaron finished his career with 755. Barry Bonds surpassed that in 2007 -though many continued to call the Hammer the true home run king because of allegations that Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs.