Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin Shares Sorrow, Condolences Over Death of Tunch Ilkin
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin joined team president Art Rooney II and others in expressing his sorrow after learning of the passing of Tunch Ilkin Saturday morning.
“We lost an incredible man with the passing of Tunch Ilkin. Tunch was special, someone who impacted everyone he came in contact with, myself included. He loved his family, lived his faith, and serving others was his passion. My prayers go out to his family,” Tomlin tweeted from his personal account.
Today we lost an incredible man with the passing of Tunch Ilkin. Tunch was special, someone who impacted everyone he came in contact with, myself included. He loved his family, lived his faith, and serving others was his passion. My prayers go out to his family.
— Mike Tomlin (@CoachTomlin) September 4, 2021
Ilkin, who became a staple voice of the Steelers as a broadcaster following his time with the franchise as an offensive lineman, died as a result of his battle with ALS.
His death comes only three months after he announced his retirement from his work with Steelers Radio Network to focus fully on his recovery and spending time with his family.
Ilkin, who was born in Istanbul, Turkey before his parents Mehmet and Ayten Ilkin emigrated to the United States when Tunch was only two-years-old. He was selected in the sixth round of the 1980 NFL Draft, Ilkin played 13 years for the Steelers at offensive tackle, earning a pair of Pro Bowl nods in 1988 and 1989. He also served a five-year term as the Vice-President of the NFLPA.
Ilkin officially joined the Steelers radio broadcast team as a color commentator in 1998, calling games alongside Myron Cope and Bill Hillgrove. He took on the analyst role full-time following Cope’s retirement in 2004, and eventually became a staple voice for Steelers fans and an ambassador for the franchise.
Craig Wolfley will move from the sideline to replace Ilkin on broadcasts this season, with former Steelers lineman Max Starks joining the broadcast crew on the sidelines.