(Vancouver) The BC Lions are mourning the loss of one of their own as standout defensive lineman Rick Klassen passed away earlier today following a courageous battle with cancer.

The BC native was a mainstay along a talented Lions defensive line for nine seasons (1981-87 and 89-90) appearing in 142 regular season games. He was a West Division All-Star in 1985 helping anchor a tough Lions defense that paved the way to a Grey Cup title that year, the club’s second overall and first since 1964.

His 66 sacks are in the top-10 in CFL history among interior linemen and his five sacks in two Grey Cup appearances put him in the top-five all-time as well. He was also named the Most Valuable Canadian in the 1983 Grey Cup. The SFU grad played for Saskatchewan in 1988 giving him a total of 160 career CFL games, but returned to the club for a two-year stint (1989-90) and later retired as a Lion.

Klassen, who was a member of the club’s 2003 Dream Team, was inducted onto the Lions’ Wall of Fame in 2012. He was 57.