Brown led the NFL in rushing yards in eight of his nine seasons in the league. No other running back in NFL history has led the league in rushing more than four times.
Brown retired after nine seasons to pursue a career in entertainment. He was also and activist in the Civil Rights movement.
Here’s a look at his life in photos:
Brown graduated from Syracuse in 1957 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army ROTC.
Brown rushed for 2,091 yards and scored 26 touchdowns during his college career at Syracuse.
Brown lettered in four sports (football, lacrosse, basketball and track) during his college career at Syracuse.
Brown sits with teammates in the Syracuse football locker room.
Brown, who was selected in the first round of the 1957 draft, played nine seasons for the Cleveland Browns (1957-65) and led the league in rushing eight of those years.
Brown sits in front of his home with family, wife, Sue and twins Kim and Kevin, 19-months-old.
Brown rushed for 12,312 yards and averaged 5.2 yards per carry over his career. He also was named a Pro Bowler every year he played.
Brown visited Elvis Presley between scenes of his movie, Roustabout.
He led the Browns to the league championship game three times, winning the title in 1964, and was named MVP three times.
Brown with Les Keiter and Howard Cosell at ringside for the 1964 Cassius Clay- Sonny Liston boxing match.
In June 1967, Brown organized “The Cleveland Summit,” a meeting of the nation’s top Black athletes, including Bill Russell and Lew Alcindor, who later became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to support boxer Muhammad Ali’s fight against serving in Vietnam.
In later years, Brown worked to curb gang violence in LA and in 1988 founded Amer-I-Can, a program to help disadvantaged inner-city youth and ex-convicts.
Brown interviewed Muhammad Ali about his upcoming fight with George Foreman, The Rumble in the Jungle, in 1974.
Brown with then-Cleveland Browns coach Bill Belichick in 1994.
Brown watches the action from the sideline during a training camp practice in 2014.
Brown was honored with a statue at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland in 2016. “It’s a great moment,” Brown said when the statue was unveiled, “because I feel it throughout my body, particularly in my heart and mind.”
“To the world he was an activist, actor, and football star,” his wife, Monique said in announcing Brown’s death in an Instagram post Friday afternoon. “To our family he was a loving and wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. Our hearts are broken…”
A look back at Jim Brown’s life and legacy in photos