Former Kansas City Chiefs coach Gunther Cunningham dies at 72

Cunningham had a two-year stint as head coach of the Chiefs from 1999-2000.

Posted: May 13, 2019 2:01 PM

Former Kansas City Chiefs coach Gunther Cunningham died on Saturday after a brief illness.

He was 72.

Cunningham spent more than five decades in the game, including stints in college and the CFL before making a name for himself in the NFL. He worked for six different franchises over 34 years in the league, including a two-year stint as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.

His wife, Rene, said in a statement Monday that Cunningham died in Detroit, where he had served as defensive coordinator and a senior coaching assistant for the Lions before retiring in 2016.

"Gunther Cunningham will forever be remembered as one of the great men of our game," the Lions said in a statement. "He left a lasting impact on every person who was fortunate enough to work alongside him during his more than 47 years as a coach — including 34 years in the National Football League, the final eight of which were spent here in Detroit. Our organization is truly honored and proud to have been included in his distinguished coaching legacy."

Cunningham is survived by Rene, his wife of nearly 50 years, and their son Adam and daughter Natalie. The family is planning a memorial service at a later date.

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