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Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew battling cancer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, the former Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins slugger said on Thursday.

"I have begun preparing for what is perhaps the most difficult battle of my life," Killebrew, who is being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, said in a statement. "While my condition is very serious, I have confidence in my doctors and the medical staff, and I anticipate a full recovery."

Killebrew, 74, spent 22 years in the Major Leagues, was named an American League All-Star 11 times and was selected the league's most valuable player in 1969.

Killebrew, who retired in 1975, is 11th on the all-time home run list with 573 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.

(Writing by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina. Editing by Frank Pingue; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)