PITTSBURGH - Dwight White, the Steel Curtain defensive end known as "Mad Dog" who helped lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl titles in the 1970s, has died following surgery at a Pittsburgh hospital He was 58.

White is the second member of the original four-man Steel Curtain to die this year. Defensive tackle Ernie Holmes died Jan. 17 in a car accident in Texas.

White, a two-time Pro Bowl player, was chosen as one of the 33 members of the Steelers' 75th anniversary all-time team last season.

He was best known for climbing out of a hospital bed to play in the Steelers' first Super Bowl victory, 16-6 over the Minnesota Vikings in 1976. White lost 18 pounds after being diagnosed with pneumonia and a lung infection, yet played nearly the entire game.

A former player at East Texas State (now Texas A&M-Commerce), White gained his nickname because of his intensity. He often said that playing on the defensive line was like having "a dog's life."

White's death follows a trend in which former Steelers players have died at an uncommon rate. At least 38 former Steelers have died since 2000, with 17 of them 59 or younger, as was White.


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