Chicago Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita dies at 78

Hall of Famer Stan Mikita, a two-time NHL MVP with the Chicago Blackhawks, died on Tuesday. He was 78.

Mikita, the all-time leading scorer in franchise history, had been battling a form of dementia since 2015.

"With great sorrow, the Mikita family announces that Stan passed away on Tuesday August 7, 2018 at the age of 78," the Mikita family said in a statement distributed by the Blackhawks. "He was surrounded by his loving family whom he fiercely loved. Details of planned services will be released when they become available. We respectfully ask for privacy at this time."

Mikita played center for the Blackhawks from 1958-80 and famously teamed with fellow star Bobby Hull in Chicago.

SEE ALSO: Zhaire Smith is the latest 76ers draft pick to suffer a major injury before his rookie season

He won back-to-back Hart Trophies as MVP in 1966-67 and 1967-68, and he was the NHL's leading scorer on four occasions during the 1960s. He scored 1,467 career points and ranks second in Blackhawks history with 541 goals.

Hull, who knew Mikita since 1955, talked about both the good side and bad side of Mikita's death in a television interview on Tuesday.

"My very good friend and great teammate passed away," Hull told the CBS affiliate in Chicago. "You know it's coming but it is tough when it hits you.

"First reaction is now he's at peace and his family now can go living because his wife was with him every waking hour that he was in hospice. He didn't know his children, he didn't know her, he didn't know his grandchildren."

21 PHOTOS
Chicago Blackhawks, NHL legend Stan Nikita
See Gallery
Chicago Blackhawks, NHL legend Stan Nikita
CHICAGO - 1960's: Bobby Hull #9 and Stan Mikita #21 of the Chicago Black Hawks celebrate in the locker room after their game. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)
ST. CATHERINES - SEPTEMBER 19: Professional hockey Chicago Black Hawks' star, Stan Mikita, on THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. Episode, 'Firebrand on Ice: Stan Mikita.' Image dated September 19, 1963. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
UNDATED: Chicago Black Hawks' center Stan Mikita #21 skates during a game. Stan Mikita played his entire 22 year career with the Black Hawks and was awarded with three major trophies in 1967: the Hart, Art Ross, and Lady Byng. Mikita duplicated the extraordinary feat in 1968. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
ST. CATHERINES - SEPTEMBER 19: Professional hockey Chicago Black Hawks' star, Stan Mikita, on THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. Episode, 'Firebrand on Ice: Stan Mikita.' Image dated September 19, 1963. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita of the Chicago Black Hawks, tied for the NHL scoring lead midway through the season with 48-points each. Here they appear to be settling their friendly battle with an Indian wrestling bout. Hull had 31 goals and 17 assists, while his Czechoslovakian born teammate had 24 goals and 24 assists. The Hawks meet the New York Rangers in a game later.
(Original Caption) Black Hawks Stan Mikita can't help boosting his sights at this stack of hockey pucks that represents the hat trick, plus one that he scored during an outstanding performance against the Pittsburgh Penguins defense. Mikita's four goal game was the first of his career and put him in a group of nine active players who have done it, including his teammate Bobby Hull (four times). Mikita now has 15 goals and 10 assists in 25 games in the NHL.
BLOOMINGTON, MN - UNDATED: Stan Mikita of the Chicago Black Hawks skates on the ice against the Minnesota North Stars at the Metropolitan Sports Center in Bloomington, Minnesota. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Stan Mikita - Quick as a Cat . (Photo by Sporting News Archive/Sporting News via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - 1972: Stan Mikita #21 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates on the ice during an NHL game against the New York Rangers circa 1972 at the Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. (Photo by Melchior DiGiacomo/Getty Images)
The battle over, Stan Mikita (right) congratulates Vic Hadfield. April 24, 1972. (Photo by William N. Jacobellis/New York Post/Photo Archives, LLC via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - 1973: Stan Mikita #21 of the Chicago Blackhawks and Pete Stemkowski #21 of the New York Rangers follow the play circa 1973 at the Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. (Photo by Melchior DiGiacomo/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - 1974: Stan Mikita #21 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates on the ice during an NHL game against the New York Rangers circa 1974 at the Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. (Photo by Melchior DiGiacomo/Getty Images)
Stan Mikita, Jan Stenerud and Neil Lomax with his son Dick, 15, at the Las Vegas Celebrity Golf Classic Pairings Party and Auction to benefit Project Sunshine, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing financial, material and volunteer support to implement camp programs for children in Nevada with critical and/or life-altering illnesses or situations. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
CANADA - APRIL 26: Stan Mikita (Photo by Jeff Goode/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
OTTAWA - JANUARY 8: Stan Mikita acknowledges the crowd as he is introduced during the Montreal Canadiens' celebration of 82 years of rivalry with the Chicago Blackhawks prior to a game between the two teams at the Bell Centre on January 8, 2008 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 7: Former player Stan Mikita of the Chicago Blackhawks speaks during a pre-game ceremony in honor of him before the Black Hawks take on the San Jose Sharks on March 7, 2008 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO - FEBRUARY 20: NBC5 Chicago sports anchor Daryl Hawks (L) interviews former Chicago Blackhawks center and Hockey Hall of Famer Stan Mikita at a Hockey Day in America event at Millennium Park on February 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The National Hockey League and NBC sponsored the event, which includes a slate of NHL games on Sunday, as part of Hockey Weekend Across America, a nationwide initiative to celebrate the game and those involved at all levels and to expose hockey to new audiences. (Photo by Brian Kersey/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO - OCTOBER 22: Chicago Blackhawks Legend Stan Mikita speaks during the Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita statue unveiling before the NHL game against the Colorado Avalanche on October 22, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO - AUGUST 23: Statue of former Chicago Blackhawks hockey player Stan Mikita, sits outside the United Center in Chicago, Illiinois on AUGUST 23, 2012. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Stan and Jill Mikita attend the 39th Ryder Cup gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 1: Former Chicago Blackhawks', from left, Tony Esposito, Bobby Hull, and Stan Mikita pose in their suite during the 2014 NHL Stadium Series at Soldier Field on March 1, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew A. Nelles/NHLI via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Mikita was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983. There is a statue of him outside the United Center.

"There are no words to describe our sadness over Stan's passing," Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said in a statement. "He meant so much to the Chicago Blackhawks, to the game of hockey, and to all of Chicago. He left an imprint that will forever be etched in the hearts of fans -- past, present and future. Stan made everyone he touched a better person.

"My wife Marilyn and I, joined by the entire Wirtz family, extend our prayers and thoughts to Jill and the Mikita family. 'Stosh' will be deeply missed, but never, ever forgotten."

The Blackhawks went to five Stanley Cup Finals during Mikita's career, winning the Cup in 1961.

Mikita also won the Lady Byng sportsmanship award twice as well as being a nine-time All-Star.

He scored 150 points (59 goals, 91 assists) in 155 career playoff games.

--Field Level Media

Read Full Story