“Good Morning America” honors Gene Willie Strahan Sr., the late father of co-host Michael Strahan.
On Friday’s broadcast, “GMA” co-anchor Amy Robach announced that Gene recently passed away at age 83 and was laid to rest that day.
“We wanted to take a moment to say our thoughts and our prayers are with our colleague Michael Strahan and his family. His father Gene Willie Strahan Sr. is being laid to rest today,” Robach said on-air.
Born in 1937, Gene was the first of nine children in his family to receive a high school diploma.
After he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1955, Gene rose through the ranks to become a major and served with the 82nd Airborne Division.
Per ABC News in 2014, Gene was also a boxer who won his first fight against future heavyweight champ Ken Norton.
“He outweighed me by about 20 pounds, and it was all muscle. But I’d been around enough heavies to know they can’t in-fight; they’re looking for that long range,” Gene was quoted saying.
“I knew the joker could hit, so I had to outmaneuver him. It was a little like the Muhammad Ali rope-a-dope. Norton was trying to knock me out, but I’d been around too long for that. He ran out of steam,” he added.
In 1957, Gene married wife Louise and they shared six children together, including Michael.
“To Michael, Louise and the entire Strahan family, we want you to know our hearts are with you today. We love you, Michael,” Robach concluded.
This morning, we’re celebrating the life of Michael Strahan’s father Gene Willie Strahan who will be laid to rest today. Our thoughts are with his family during this time. pic.twitter.com/flpLvx5gjT— Good Morning America (@GMA) September 4, 2020
In June, Michael posted a touching photo of him and Gene in celebration of Father’s Day.
“Happy #FathersDay to my dad and all the fathers out there. Hopefully you are relaxing and enjoying the honor of being a dad (the greatest gift in life),” the “Strahan, Sara and Keke” host wrote on Instagram. “Think about the impact you have on your children and make sure you are doing everything you can to show them right from wrong because they are watching!”
In a 2016 interview with People, Strahan, who played defensive end for the New York Giants prior to becoming a television host, opened up about how his parents made him realize his boundless potential.
“I never knew I could accomplish so much,” he told the outlet at the time. “But my parents never act surprised. They look at me as if there’s no limit. That helped me feel like there’s no limit.”
Strahan is a father himself, and shares daughter Tanita, 28, and son Michael Jr., 25, with ex-wife Wanda Hutchins, as well as twins Sophie and Isabella, 15, with ex-wife Jean Muggli.
Our condolences go out to the Strahan family for their loss.