(ESPN.com news services)

Hockey legend Gordie Howe died Friday, the Detroit Red Wings have confirmed. He was 88.

Howe, who was known as Mr. Hockey, holds NHL records for most games (1,767) and seasons (26). His 801 career goals rank second to Wayne Gretzky's 894.

The Hall of Famer played on four Stanley Cup championship teams in Detroit during a 25-year stint that began in 1946. He retired from hockey for good when he was 52.

Recent years had been challenging for Howe.

Memory loss from the early stages of dementia became a problem even before his wife, Colleen, died in 2009 after battling Pick's disease, a rare form of dementia similar to Alzheimer's.

Howe suffered two disabling strokes in October 2014. His family said his health had improved after he underwent a stem-cell treatment as part of a clinical trial in Mexico.

Howe, one of nine siblings, was born in Floral, Saskatchewan, a tiny community just southeast of Saskatoon. The family moved to the city when he was an infant.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.