DES MOINES, Iowa — Former Iowa All-American quarterback Randy Duncan has died after a lengthy fight with cancer. He was 79.

Greg Brown, who along with Duncan started the Duncan, Green, Brown and Langeness law firm in 1992, confirmed to The Associated Press that Duncan died Tuesday night in Des Moines.

Duncan was perhaps the best quarterback the Hawkeyes have ever had. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection, winning the Walter Camp Trophy as the nation’s player of the year in 1958. Duncan capped his career by helping the Hawkeyes beat Washington 38-12 in the 1959 Rose Bowl. He was later named to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Duncan, who was 15-2-2 in two years as a starter, is also one of just nine former Iowa players inducted into the Kinnick Stadium Ring of Honor.

“The word ‘legend’ is so often overused in sports. But in the case of Randy Duncan it fits perfectly,” Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He was one of the true Hawkeye legends, who served as an outstanding representative of Iowa football and the University of Iowa.”

Duncan was the first pick in the 1959 NFL draft. But Duncan spurned the Green Bay Packers for the CFL, retiring in 1961 to pursue a law degree.

Duncan practiced law in Des Moines throughout his career.

“Randy was a Hawkeye icon because of his athletic accomplishments. But more importantly, a great husband, family man, and community leader who fought a great battle over the last few years. I’m honored to have known him,” Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said.