Former Bears coach Mike Ditka improving after 'mild heart attack'

Former Bears coach Mike Ditka hospitalized after heart attack, reports say

Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka is improving after suffering “a mild heart attack” this week, according to his agent Steve Mandell.

Ditka, 79, was playing golf in Florida when he fell ill and was taken to a hospital, Fox 32 in Chicago reported Friday.

“Coach Ditka had a mild heart attack earlier this week. Doctors inserted a pacemaker, and he is doing much better,” Mandell said, per ESPN. “He appreciates the outpouring of support and expects to be home soon.”

Ditka, who coached the Bears from 1982 to 1992 and the Saints from 1997 to 1999, has a history of heart issues. He also suffered a heart attack during the 1988 season. 

WGN reported Ditka was “expected to be home in three or four days for rehab.”

Jarrett Payton, son of Bears great Walter Payton, tweeted that Ditka “is doing well. He’s Iron Mike … what would you expect?”

Ditka excelled as a tight end for 12 seasons in the NFL and became the first tight end inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1988), but he reached legendary status as a coach in Chicago.

The Bears were 52-11 in the regular season from 1985 to 1988, and the 1985 team was as colorful as it was good, posting a 15-1 record en route to a 46-10 thrashing of the New England Patriots in the 1986 Super Bowl.

Ditka also won two championships as a player — the 1963 NFL championship with the Bears, and  the 1972 Super Bowl with the Cowboys.