Friends, fans say final farewell to legendary athlete Billy Cannon

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Family, friends, and fans gathered Wednesday to remember the life at legacy of legendary former LSU Tiger, Billy Cannon.

It's hard to find the right words to adequately say goodbye to a legend and sum up the not so ordinary life of an extraordinary man, especially when it's someone who has become synonymous with the LSU football program.

"You set the standard that all players and coaches who wear the purple and gold live by today," said Coach Ed Orgeron.

"For 60 something years, it's been Sam and it's been William and I'll never forget that," added Warren Rabb, one of Cannon's former teammates. "That means something to me."

Dozens paid their respects to the Heisman Trophy winner. Cannon is the only person to claim the honor in the school's history.

"He made a commitment, I think to himself to do it and to work hard to accomplish what he was doing," said Rabb.

He is best known for "the run" back in 1959, the punt return that solidified his mark in history and cemented his place in the hearts and minds of countless fans. Those who knew Cannon best though, say his accolades on the field were many, but perhaps his greatest achievement came off the field in his love for LSU and for mankind.

"And for that we say thank you," said Richard Lamb, a family friend. "I love Billy Cannon. We all love Billy Cannon."

One of his former Tiger teammates, Don "Scooter" Purvis, says to know Billy was to love him and it's a love he says Cannon returned ten-fold to everyone who crossed his path. "He was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great grandfather, and a friend to legions of people who loved him from afar," said Purvis.

There was no shortage of tender tributes for the immensely talented number 20 and while his life's journey comes to a close, he leaves behind a lasting legacy that will forever be part of the fabric of LSU.

LSU officials have announced plans to erect a statue on campus to honor Cannon, but so far, details have not been fully developed.

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