Puckett Dies

Minneapolis (AP) _ According to a hospital spokeswoman, former Minnesota Twins outfielder Kirby Puckett has died. He was 44.

Kimberly Lodge says Puckett died at St. Joseph's hospital and medical center in Phoenix, Arizona. The hall of famer had been in intensive care since having surgery at another hospital following his stroke yesterday morning.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says he's terribly saddended by the sudden passing of Puckett and that he “was a hall of famer in every sense of the term.'' he says “Kirby was taken from us much too soon, and too quickly.''

Puckett led the Twins to two World Series championships before his career was cut short by glaucoma. He was left blind in one eye and was forced to retire in the summer of 1996.

He broke in with the Twins in 1984 and had a career batting average of .318.  Puckett was a 10 time All-Star who played 12 seasons in Minnesota.

Three years ago, he was cleared of assault charges after being accused of groping a woman at a Twin Cities restaurant.