MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins fans may have donned their red, white and blue like at any other game Friday. But this time, many of them said their thoughts and prayers remain with Twins Great Harmon Killebrew.
"It's heartbreaking, because he's the epitome of a class act," said Michael Houge, a Twins and Killebrew fan.
Earlier on Friday, the Hall of Famer released a statement through the team to say he will no longer fight esophageal cancer. In the statement, he says he has "exhausted all options" for treatment and the cancer is incurable.
Killebrew says he'll enter hospice care and will be comforted by friends and family.
"I kinda gasped," said Bonnie Thompson of Ramsey about when she first heard about Killebrew's condition.
"We're hoping he can be comfortable and maybe improve a little bit for a while. We'd like to hang on to him for as long as we possibly can," she said.
Thompson was among dozens of fans strolling by the Killebrew statue before Friday night's game. Many of the fans took pictures and recalled the days they watched "The Killer" at bat.
"To see him play was really something," said Marlen Schmitz.
"He was 'the' Twin when I was growing up. I always thought he was a class act and a great human being and he's kinda, to me, the epitome of what a ballplayer was in the old days," Houge said.
Before the game, Twins Greats also paid tribute to Killebrew on the large video monitor above Target Field.
"We love you, Harmon," said Bert Blyleven, while also asking for fans to keep Killebrew in their thoughts and prayers.
From his fishing spot in Brainerd, Kent Hrbek also offered his support and admiration for the man he, too, grew up watching.
"The nicest guy in the world. I haven't met anybody that's nicer. And just an iconic figure that's bigger than Paul Bunyan in the state of Minnesota," Hrbek said.
Overall, fans say they'll support the man who loves Minnesotans almost as much as they love him.
"He's the 'All American' person, and it's the 'All American' game, and he cares about the 'All American' community and the people within it. I think that's it," Thompson said.
(Copyright 2011 by KARE and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)