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Jack Nicklaus wrote a touching tribute to Arnold Palmer

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The golf world lost a giant on Sunday when Arnold Palmer passed away. He was 87.

Palmer won seven major championships over the course of his career, the most famous of which came at the U.S. Open in 1960 when he stormed back from six shots down on Sunday to beat a young Jack Nicklaus.

Nicklaus and Palmer were rivals, to be sure, but they were also close friends who helped grow golf's popularity immensely.

SEE ALSO: Arnold Palmer, golf's first superstar in the age of television, dies at 87

On Sunday night, after news of Palmer's death had broke, Nicklaus wrote a moving tribute to Palmer.

"We were great competitors, who loved competing against each other, but we were always great friends along the way," Nicklaus wrote. "Arnold always had my back, and I had his. We were always there for each other. That never changed."

He continued: "He was the king of our sport and always will be."

Here's Nicklaus' full tribute, from his Facebook page (transcription courtesy of FTW):

"I just got the news at about 8:45 that Arnold had passed. I was shocked to hear that we lost a great friend—and that golf lost a great friend.

At this point I don't know what happened, and I suppose it is not important what happened. What is important is that we just lost one of the incredible people in the game of golf and in all of sports. My friend—many people's friend—just wore out. I know he was in Pittsburgh trying to find out how to make himself better. That's what Arnold has always tried to do. He has always been a fighter and he never gave up on anything. He didn't give up even now. Maybe his body did, but I know Arnold's will and spirit did not.

I wish I had another chance to talk to him, but I am so glad we talked a couple weeks ago on his birthday (Sept. 10), when he sounded great. So Barbara and I are just in shock and incredibly saddened. Our hearts, thoughts, prayers and sympathies go out to Kit, his kids, grand-kids, great grandchildren, and his entire loving family.

He was one of my best friends, closest friends, and he was for a long, long time. I will miss him greatly.

Arnold transcended the game of golf. He was more than a golfer or even great golfer. He was an icon. He was a legend. Arnold was someone who was a pioneer in his sport. He took the game from one level to a higher level, virtually by himself. Along the way, he had millions of adoring fans—Barbara and I among them. We were great competitors, who loved competing against each other, but we were always great friends along the way. Arnold always had my back, and I had his. We were always there for each other. That never changed.

He was the king of our sport and always will be."

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See photos of Arnold Palmer:

23 PHOTOS
Arnold Palmer through the years
See Gallery
Arnold Palmer through the years
Arnold Palmer. June 11, 1959. (Photo by Anthony Calvacca/New York Post/Photo Archives, LLC via Getty Images)
Arnold Palmer. April 15, 1967. (Photo by Arty Pomerantz/New York Post/Photo Archives, LLC via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Arnold Palmer (left) and Robert Sweeny, who won their semi-final matches today in the National Amateur Golf Championship, smile as they hold the trophy one of them will take home tomorrow. Palmer, of Wickliffe, Ohio, eliminated Edward Meister on the 39th hole by one up after nearly eight hours of play. Sweeny, of Port Washington, New York, beat Dr. Ted Lenczyk, 5 and 4. The winners meet tomorrow in the finals.
Arnold Palmer. July 23, 1971. (Photo by William N. Jacobellis/New York Post/Photo Archives, LLC via Getty Images)
Arnold Palmer follows a putt. August 22, 1974. (Photo by William N. Jacobellis/New York Post/Photo Archives, LLC via Getty Images)
Lanny Wadkins and Arnold Palmer have a laugh at the Met Golf Writers' dinner. February 20, 1973. (Photo by Vernon Shibla/New York Post/Photo Archives, LLC via Getty Images)
Arnold Palmer. August 23, 1974. (Photo by William N. Jacobellis/New York Post/Photo Archives, LLC via Getty Images)
CIRCA 1990's: Golf: Arnold Palmer in action during tournament play early circa 1990's. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - OCTOBER 21: Arnold Palmer competes in the 1990 Transamerica Senior Golf Championship event of the Senior PGA Tour on October 21, 1990 at the Silverado Country Club in Napa, California. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - OCTOBER 21: Arnold Palmer competes in the 1990 Transamerica Senior Golf Championship event of the Senior PGA Tour on October 21, 1990 at the Silverado Country Club in Napa, California. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 23: Arnold Palmer during the 51st Senior PGA Championship held at the PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. April 12-15, 1990. (photograph by The PGA of America). (Photo by Jeff McBride/PGA of America via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 24: Arnold Palmer during the 51st Senior PGA Championship held at the PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. April 12-15, 1990. (photograph by The PGA of America). (Photo by Jeff McBride/PGA of America via Getty Images)
1990: Arnold Palmer watches his shot during the 1990 RMCC Invitational at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn /Allsport
30 Jun 2000: Arnold Palmer takes a chunk out of the course during the U.S. Senior Open at the Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons /Allsport
Former Masters champion Arnold Palmer gives a thumbs up to fans along the ninth hole of the Par 3 Contest ahead of the 2014 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia April 9, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT GOLF)
Legendary golfer Arnold Palmer holds the hand and smiles at Tracey Stewart (L), widow of golfer Payne Stewart, after being announced as one of three recipients of the first Payne Stewart Award at the 18th green at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta November 1, 2000. The award will be given annually to a player sharing Stewart's commitment to the game and charitable support. Stewart was killed in a plane crash in October 25, 1999. TLC
Former Masters champion Arnold Palmer of the U.S. prepares to hit his drive during the ceremonial start of the 2014 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia April 10, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT GOLF)
Honorary starter US golfer Arnold Palmer greets fans as he arrives to begin Round 1 of the 80th Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2016, in Augusta, Georgia. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Honorary Starter Arnold Palmer gives the thumbs up to fans as they applaud at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2016 Augusta, Ga. Palmer along with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player were Honorary Starts for The Masters. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 20: Arnold Palmer watches action on the 18th green during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard at Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 20, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 20: Arnold Palmer gives a thumbs up following Jason Day's one stroke victory on the 18th hole green during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 20, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Cy Cyr/PGA TOUR)
Arnold Palmer of the U.S. waves to the crowd as he stands on the 18th green during the Champion Golfers' Challenge tournament ahead of the British Open golf championship on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, July 15, 2015. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
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