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Chad Hartman: 'My father did not pass because of COVID, but his life was changed'

"My father was committed to the day every single day," Chad Hartman said.

A day after Sid Hartman's death, Chad Hartman publicly spoke about the final months of his father's historic life. 

"There was a lot of crying yesterday, there was a lot of storytelling, a lot of hollow moments," said Hartman, whose father Sid passed away Sunday at the age of 100. Sid's iconic career in the sports and media industries saw him become general manager of the Minneapolis Lakers, later becoming one of the all-time great sports columnists in American history, in addition to a radio career that spanned decades. 

Chad, who is a longtime sports commentator and current WCCO radio host, told WCCO Morning News host Dave Lee that the final months of his father's life were impacted greatly by the coronavirus pandemic. 

"The last months have been daunting for this entire country for what we've all phased," Hartman said. "My father did not pass because of COVID, but his life was changed."

Plans for his 100th birthday on March 15 were uprooted by the early days of the pandemic causing mass disruption in Minnesota and around the globe, and the final months of his life were partially without the sports that kept him working, as almost all professional sports were shut down for at least four months – and reporting in person was replaced by virtual press conferences. 

"Because of his age, because he was so vulnerable he had to stay home so much," Hartman said. "Unfortunately, he was at his house so much and it just changed who he was."

Hartman died Sunday, with Chad announcing his death just after 2 p.m.: ""My father’s extraordinary and resilient life has come to a peaceful conclusion surrounded by his family."

"I had to go over there middle of the night, Saturday night-Sunday," Hartman explained to Lee. "He recognized me and he rallied for a while ... and in the morning we definitely had some hope but unfortunately his life came to a conclusion."

The legendary father-son duo were able to tell each other they loved each other one last time, with Hartman saying it's a moment he'll never forget. 

You can listen to the full interview with Chad Hartman here

Born in 1920, Hartman's first column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune was published Sept. 11, 1945.

He didn't stop writing from then on, and also spent 65 years as a staple at WCCO Radio. His last column was published on the day he died.

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