“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Chris Doleman after a prolonged and courageous battle against cancer,” the Hall of Fame’s David Baker said in a statement.
Doleman had been battling brain cancer, first undergoing surgery in January 2018.
“The Minnesota Vikings express our deepest sympathies to Chris Doleman’s family and friends upon his passing,” the team said in a statement.
“Chris was a great example for players past and present, as he embodied all the best characteristics of a Viking — resilience, toughness and a competitive spirit. Chris always carried himself with dignity and class. Vikings fans worldwide will greatly miss him.
Doleman was drafted by the Vikings with the fourth pick in the 1985 draft out of Pittsburgh. He spent 10 of his 15 NFL seasons — his first nine and his final one in 1999 — with the Vikings. He also played for the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers.
He had eight double-digit sack seasons and led the NFL with 21 QB takedowns in 1989. Doleman finished with 150.5 sacks in his career, fifth on the NFL’s all time list. Only Julius Peppers and fellow Hall of Famers Kevin Greene, Reggie White and Bruce Smith have more since the NFL started keeping track of the stat in 1982.
Doleman was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.