Hockey great and former Whaler Gordie Howe suffers stroke

FILE - In this Feb. 2, 2012 file photo, Hockey Hall of Famer Gordie Howe, part owner of the Western Hockey League's Vancouver Giants, looks on during news conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. Hockey great Gordie Howe has lost some function on the right side of his body after having a stroke Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014 in Texas. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck, File)

DETROIT (AP) — Hockey great Gordie Howe has lost some function on the right side of his body after having a stroke Sunday in Texas.

Howe’s daughter Cathy said Tuesday night the 86-year-old Detroit Red Wings legend had lost much use of his right arm and right leg. Howe suffered the stroke in Lubbock, where his daughter lives.

“We’ll just see what each day brings,” she said. “He’s tough. He’s not giving up.”

Howe’s daughter said his speech is slurred, but he’s been looking at family pictures and pictures from his playing days, and he’s able to recognize and identify people he played with. His three sons were on the way there to see him.

“The stroke kind of came out of nowhere,” said Howe’s son Murray, a radiologist.

The man known as “Mr. Hockey” set NHL marks with 801 goals and 1,850 points — mostly with the Red Wings — that held up until Wayne Gretzky surpassed him in the record book. He was revered for his blend of finesse and grit, playing 26 years in the NHL until he retired for good from the league at age 52.

With one shift for the Detroit Vipers in the International Hockey League in 1997, he played professionally in a sixth decade at the age of 69.

Murray Howe said last year his father was still strong but was struggling a bit with short-term memory loss. This year, around the end of August, he underwent a procedure to help with back trouble. That operation helped significantly.

“He ended up getting what’s called a minimally invasive lumbar decompression,” Murray Howe said. “He was doing great for a while.”

Howe’s daughter said his spirits were still strong after the stroke.

“He’s as tough now as he was when he played,” she said.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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