Harmon Killebrew signs autographs before the Hall of Fame Classic game last June. (Kevin Rivoli /AP)

Harmon Killebrew, the Hall of Fame slugger for the Minnesota Twins, has died after a battle with esphogeal cancer.

Killebrew, 74, had announced last week that he was entering hospice care, saying, ““I am comforted by the fact that I am surrounded by my family and friends. I thank you for the outpouring of concern, prayers and encouragement that you have shown me. I look forward to spending my final days in comfort and peace with Nita [his wife] by my side.”

(Jim Mone / AP/AP)

Killebrew, who was drafted by and played two full seasons for the Washington Senators before their move to Minnesota, died at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“No individual has ever meant more to the Minnesota Twins organization and millions of fans across Twins territory than Harmon Killebrew,” Twins president Dave St. Peter said. Killebrew’s legacy, he said, “will be the class, dignity and humility he demonstrated each and every day as a Hall of Fame-quality husband, father, friend, teammate and man. The Twins extend heartfelt sympathies and prayers to the Killebrew family at this difficult time.”

He hit 573 home runs over his 22-year career, ranking 11th all-time in the majors. He hit 40 or more home runs in eight seasons, tied with Babe Ruth for second most.

“I found out early in life that I could hit a baseball farther than most players and that’s what I tried to do,” Killebrew, whose silhouette inspired the Major League Baseball logo, said.

After Killebrew’s announcement last week, the Twins and Nationals honored him by placing his jersey in the dugout over the weekend.

Gallery: Killebrew’s life in photos