During his lifetime, Walter Payton was celebrated among sports fans for his football prowess and incredible career. After his passing in 1999, the world knew him for his generosity and charitable contributions as well.
Born in Mississippi in 1954, Payton rose through the NFL to become one of the sport’s most celebrated running backs, earning Player of the Year and MVP awards in 1977 during his time playing for the Chicago Bears. Over the course of his career, he racked up 16,726 rushing yards and 110 touchdowns, earning him the rank of all-time leader in combined net and running yards. Known as “Sweetness,” Payton played 186 consecutive games, only missing one game during his rookie years.
Near the end of his life, Payton was diagnosed with a progressive liver disease. Bile duct cancer claimed his life in early November of 1999. Before he passed, Payton and his wife, Connie, appealed to the world for greater awareness of the need for organ donations. Payton, already a hero in Chicago, generated tremendous response for the cause. Following his death, the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation continued his work, holding charitable events such as the Sweetness Run and school supply donations for children.
Sports fans will always remember Payton’s incredible career achievements, such as leading the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl XX victory. The world will remember him for his generosity and kindness.
About ABC Distributing
A business-to-business merchandiser, ABC Distributing has provided products ranging from electronics and toys to housewares, books, and other high-quality goods for over 50 years. ABC Distributing participates in a number of charity organizations and recently took part in the Sweetness Run, participating in 5K and 8K distances.