Father of the Great One Passes Away

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Walter Gretzky, the ultimate Canadian hockey dad who taught and nurtured the Great One, has died.

He was 82.

Wayne Gretzky said his dad battled Parkinson's disease and other health issues the past few years in a statement released Thursday night.

In his younger days, Walter Gretzky became a name himself, appearing with his famous son in commercials and emerging as a blue-collar symbol of a devoted hockey parent.

His celebrity status increased after making a remarkable recovery from a stroke suffered in 1991. 

His recovery was chronicled in his autobiography, ``On Family, Hockey and Healing,'' and in a 2005 made-for-TV movie.