Mike Ditka, the iconic Chicago Bears tight end and head coach who built an impressive acting career after football was over, has been hospitalized with a heart problem.
Ditka was stricken on Wednesday in Florida, but is recovering and is expected to be released in a few days.
“Coach Ditka had a mild heart attack earlier this week,” his agent, Steve Mandell, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “Doctors inserted a pacemaker and he is doing much better. He appreciates the outpouring of support and expects to be home soon.”
Ditka’s ferocious on-field presence and his fiery approach to coaching translated well to film and television. Although mostly playing himself, he appeared in everything from Entourage to Cheers to 3rd Rock From The Sun on TV, and in the films Kicking and Screaming and UP, Michigan!
He has also been a notable presence in advertising, appearing in ads for products ranging from Campbell’s Chunky Soup to Schwab to Levitra erectile dysfunction treatments.
Ditka is a two-time Emmy nominee in 1994 and 1996 for Outstanding Sports Personality – Analyst/Commentary.