Footbal player Gale Sayers arrives at the 14th Annual Harold & Carole...

Footbal player Gale Sayers arrives at the 14th Annual Harold & Carole Pump Foundation Gala at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on August 8, 2014 in Century City, California. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Chicago Bears Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers has died at the age of 77.  Sayers made his mark as one of the NFL’s best all-purpose running backs and was later celebrated for his enduring friendship with a Bears teammate with cancer.

His friendship with Brian Piccolo was depicted in the 1971 film “Brian’s Song” that marked him as more than a sports star.

Relatives of Sayers say he had been diagnosed with dementia.  His wife said she partly blamed his football career.