FOX26 News has learned former Raiders Quarterback and Clovis native Daryle Lamonica has passed away.
Police and an ambulance were called to Lamonica’s home in Fresno to investigate a potential natural death. Lamonica’s son Brandon confirmed to FOX26 News that his father had passed away.
Lamonica was nicknamed “The Mad Bomber” for his incredible throwing arm, now going down in history as the third-leading passer of anyone with the Raiders. At the time, that team was based in Oakland, rather than Las Vegas. At one point, he held the record for most passes attempted, most completions, total yards, and touchdown passes for the Raiders.
He led them to four back-to-back division titles between 1967 and 1970, and took the Raiders to Super Bowl II.
Before his professional career, Lamonica grew up in the Central Valley, playing as an all-state quarterback at Clovis High School. The school named its stadium after him in 1974. He was also an inaugural honoree at the Clovis Unified Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Clovis High School Football Hall of Fame in 2018.
The Clovis Unified School District said in a statement Thursday that Lamonica's passing meant the loss of an icon, continuing,
His legacy is one that lives on not only through the beloved stadium that bears his name, but in the coaches, student athletes, and fans who are a part of the Clovis Unified athletic tradition.
Former Fresno State football coach Dan Stockton agrees, Lamonica's legacy lives on.
“I loved him. It’s a sad time, but he will never die. He’ll live on," said Stockton. ““The loss is irreplaceable – it can never be made up. But the memories will never leave. He was one of the very nicest, friendliest, most lovable people that I ever met.”
Stockton and Lamonica were friends for over half a century. The two even ran a football camp together.
“Daryle was the best long passer in history, and by God, he better make the Hall of Fame, because he deserves it," said Stockton. "He's a legend in Fresno, he should be a legend in the Hall of Fame."
Lamonica was a two-time MVP, three-time AFL All-Star, and two-time NFL Pro Bowl selection.
The Raiders said in a statement to FOX26 News that the team was deeply saddened to learn of Lamonica's passing.
The Raider Nation will forever miss his easy-going nature and warm smile. Our deepest condolences are with his wife Mary, son Brandon, the rest of the Lamonica family, teammates and friends.
Lamonica's high school yearbook shows that he wasn't just a star in football, however. He was the captain of the baseball team; he lettered on the track team, competing in discus throwing and broad jumping; he played shortstop on the varsity baseball team; and he was class president his senior year.
“Daryle Lamonica has no seconds. He’s a top guy," said Stockton.
Lamonica was 80 years old. The Fresno County Sheriff's Office confirms he died of natural causes.
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