Don Meredith, 72, died Sunday at a New Mexico hospital.
Meredith, 72, died at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, N.M., with his daughter, Mary, and wife, Susan, at his side. Susan, told The Associated Press on Monday her husband died after suffering a brain hemorrhage and lapsing into a coma.
"He was the best there was," she said, describing him as kind, warm and funny. "We lost a good one."
Meredith was born and raised in Mount Vernon, Texas -- which is about 100 miles east of Dallas. He never played a home game outside of North Texas. Before his career with the Cowboys, Meredith was a three-year at quarterback for SMU. He was an All-America selection in 1958 and 1959.
First drafted by the Bears, Dandy Don was traded to Dallas and became the first Cowboy before the team had even officially entered the league. He played for the Cowboys from 1960-68 and while he never led the team to a Super Bowl, he was one of the franchise's first stars and was the second inducted into the team's Ring of Honor.
Meredith led the Cowboys to three straight division titles and to consecutive NFL Championship games in 1966 and 1967. Dallas lost both games though to eventual Super Bowl winners Green Bay.
Over his nine-year career, Meredith threw for 17,199 yards and 111 touchdowns. He retired unexpectedly before the 1969 season and just two years later joined Keith Jackson and Howard Cosell in the broadcast booth as part of the "Monday Night Football" crew.
He quickly became one of the most popular broadcasters in sports because of his folksy sayings and country humor.
Meredith's signature call was singing the famous Willie Nelson song "Turn Out the Lights" when it appeared a game's outcome had been determined.
Meredith was one of the first athletes to make the transition from the field to the color analyst -- and the move to calling "Monday Night Football" was an easy one for him.
While on the show, Meredith was part of many memorable moments on ABC's landmark hit.
In 1970, Meredith was in the booth for the St. Louis Cardinals' 38-0 whitewashing of his former team. The Cotton Bowl crowd late in began chanting "We want Meredith!"
Meredith quipped, "No way you're getting me down there,"
Another famous Meredith moment occurred in 1974 at the Houston Astrodome. The Oakland Raiders were in the process of beating the Houston Oilers 34-0.
A cameraman had a shot of a disgruntled Oilers fan, who then made an obscene gesture. Meredith said of the fan. "He thinks they're No. 1 in the nation."
Meredith suffered a minor stroke in 2004 and had been recently fighting emphysema. Meredith's wife said a private graveside ceremony is being planned and that family members were traveling to Santa Fe.
NBCDFW's Frank Heinz contributed to this report.