Leo Lewis, who played running back with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the 1950s and '60s, has died. He was 80 years old.

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Former Winnipeg Blue Bomber Leo Lewis was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. Lewis died at home this week at the age of 80. (Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame)

Lewis died peacefully on Friday at his home in Missouri. He had been battling illness for some time, his sons told CBC News.

Known as the "Lincoln Locomotive," Lewis played college football with Lincoln University in Missouri before joining the Bombers in 1955.

During his 11-year CFL career, Lewis rushed for 8,861 yards and was part of four Grey Cup-winning Bombers teams.

One of his three sons, Leo Lewis III, said there is no doubt that Winnipeg held a place in his father's heart.

"I'm grateful that, you know, we got a city in our family's life that means so much to my mother and father," the younger Lewis said in an interview late Friday.

"We're looking forward to getting to know the city much more."

After retiring from the CFL, Lewis returned to Lincoln University to teach and coach for more than than 30 years, according to his entry on the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame's website.

Lewis was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1973. He was named to the Winnipeg Football Club's Hall of Fame when it was established in 1984.

In 2005, he was inducted to the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and named one of the top 20 all-time Blue Bombers.