Billy Cannon passed away peacefully in his home early Sunday morning, May 20, 2018, LSU announced. He was 80 years old.
A Baton Rouge native, Cannon was the winner of the 1959 Heisman Trophy as a halfback, and led the Tigers to the 1958 national championship. He was a longtime member of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Assoc.
He was inducted into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975 and into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. He was named LSU Alumnus of the Year in 2010.
“There may be no other figure in LSU sports who was more beloved and revered,” LSU Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva said. “His loss will be felt across the world today. The LSU family mourns with the Cannon family. He will always be a Tiger and will always be in our memories.”
“To say that Billy Cannon was legendary is an understatement,” LSU President Dr. F. King Alexander said. “His talent catapulted LSU Athletics into the national limelight, but more than that, he had unwavering commitment to his alma mater. He will forever remain a part of the LSU legacy throughout the nation.”
A private ceremony for Cannon is planned for early this week, according to LSU Athletics. Details for a public remembrance will also be announced.
The Cannon family asks that donations be made to Johnny Robinson’s Boys Home and the Tiger Athletic Foundation Billy Cannon Endowed Scholarship in lieu of flowers.
“Billy Cannon was LSU football through and through. He was a legend. He will be missed and never forgotten,” LSU football head coach Ed Orgeron said.
Cannon Family statement:
“Today is profoundly sad for all of us. We know the thoughts and prayers of so many who were touched by my father’s life are with him and with us. There are no words to express how grateful we are for the outpouring of support from all over the country. It is overwhelming and comforting.”
“LSU meant more to our dad than anyone could ever know. It wasn’t the awards or the acknowledgements on the football field. It was always the love of the LSU family that meant the world to him and to all of us. There is simply no other place on earth where so many come together to love and support their own like LSU. His life was intertwined with the purple and gold, and he wouldn’t have had it any other way.”