NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger has died at the age of 58 after a year-long battle with cancer.
Heimerdinger passed away Friday. He was diagnosed with cancer in November 2010.
"It is with a heavy heart, but a trust in God, that we say goodbye to our beloved Dinger who lost his courageous battle with cancer yesterday," his wife, Kathie, said in a statement released Saturday.
Heimerdinger spent seven seasons in two stints with the Titans, leaving for work as an assistant head coach for the Denver Broncos in 2004, and returning to replace Norm Chow in 2008. He coached Steve McNair in his 2003 co-MVP season, and returned to help struggling quarterback Vince Young.
He was back at work soon after being diagnosed and starting treatment. Then head coach Jeff Fisher gave Heimerdinger the game ball after he helped coach the team to a win against Houston after a six-game losing streak.
Heimerdinger did not miss a game while undergoing treatment.
"Mike approached cancer with the same vigor and tenacity that he approached any football game - to win. Even in the final minutes he never gave up - that was our Dinger," said Kathie Heimerdinger.
The Tennessee chapter of the NFL Alumni dedicated this year's annual golf fundraiser in June in his name for the American Cancer Society.
"We have been overwhelmed and incredibly touched by all of the support that we have felt from family, friends, fellow coaches, players, fans and the league this past year," said Kathie Heimerdinger.
Heimerdinger was fired in February after offensive line coach Mike Munchak was promoted to head coach. Heimerdinger had interviewed for the Titans head coach position after the team and Jeff Fisher parted ways.
He played wide receiver at Eastern Illinois, and coached at the University of Florida, Duke, Rice, Cal State Fullerton, North Texas State, Air Force Academy, and in the NFL with the Denver Broncos and New York Jets in addition to the Titans.
"He was a deeply devoted husband and father, loving son and brother, loyal friend and committed coach who loved the game and life," said Kathie Heimerdinger.