Toronto: Canada's hockey icon Gordie Howe has died after a lengthy illness, his family confirmed on Friday. He was 88 years old. Nicknamed as "Mr. Hockey", Howe is considered one of the greatest ice hockey players of all time and an ironman in many respects both on and off the ice, Xinhua reported. Born in 1928 in Floral, Saskatchewan, Howe played 26 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) and six seasons in the World Hockey Association (WHA). His first 25 seasons were spent with the NHL's Detroit Red Wings, and he played an unparalleled 33 seasons over six decades after breaking into the pro ranks in 1945. A 23-time NHL All-Star, Howe held many of the sport's scoring records until they were broken in the 1990s by Wayne Gretzky. Howe continues to hold NHL records for most games and seasons played. Howe retired in 1971 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto in 1972. He was the inaugural recipient of the NHL Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.