After suffering a stroke in October of 2014 that left him disoriented and unable to walk, Howe recovered by undergoing stem cell treatment in Mexico. In an interview with NHL.com in November of 2015, Howe's family members said he was healthier and comfortable following his recovery. Over the last few years of his life, Howe suffered a series of ailments, including back pain stemming from an out-patient procedure in 2013 as well as mini-strokes. He also suffered from dementia.
Born in March of 1928, Howe established himself as "Mr. Hockey" over the course of a Hall of Fame career by emerging as one of the greatest professional ice hockey players in the history of the game. Originally signed by the Detroit Red Wings, Howe debuted with the club in 1946 and played his last game with the team in 1971. Over 25 years in Detroit, Howe played in over 1,600 games, scored 786 goals and accumulated over 1,800 points.
Howe's playing style gave him the namesake for the "Gordie Howe Hat Trick," when a player scores a goal, makes an assist and gets in a fight all in one game.
In 1973, he joined the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association where he spent four years and scored 369 points (121 goals and 248 assists) in 285 games. He then joined the New England Whalers for two seasons before the club merged with the NHL and became the Hartford Whalers. During this time, Howe was able to play alongside his sons, Mark and Marty while playing in Houston and Hartford/New England.
In total, Howe played in well over 2,100 career regular season games, scored 975 goals and amassed over 2,300 career points. He won six Art Ross trophies for leading the league in scoring, six Hart trophies as league MVP and four Stanley Cups. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.