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Gordie Howe’s 85th birthday sees him in his toughest battle

Mar 31, 2013, 1:21 PM EDT

Gordie Howe AP

Today is Easter Sunday but it also doubles as NHL legend Gordie Howe’s 85th birthday. With aging comes health concerns, however, and Mr. Hockey has a serious one he’s dealing with.

Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports on Howe’s struggles with dementia that will likely keep him out of the public eye from here on out. Gordie’s Hall of Fame son, Mark, highlights how tough it’s been for his father lately.

“All you have to do is make oatmeal for him in the morning, then have a cookie or apple pie or chocolate ice cream before bed, and then he’s happy,” Mark said. “But if it’s not someone that he knows who’s with him, he really struggles.

“He was watching the Wings game the other night, and after two periods he put on his coat and made to leave. He said he was going to see Sid Abel at the end of the street. That’s the first I’d heard of that kind of thing. But that’s the stage he’s at.”

It’s hard to hear stories like this, especially about someone so revered by the public. For what it’s worth, Mark says Gordie is still physically strong but his memory just isn’t at the same level.

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