The Redingtons are the first family of mushing — of course, Joe Redington Sr. began it all when the Iditarod started, back in the early ’70s.

The Iditarod Trail Committee had some sad news to report on its Facebook page Tuesday saying Joee Redington Jr. had died.

According to the post, Joee Redington Jr. died on Monday; he was 74-years-old.

His nephew Ryan Redington, told KTVA on Tuesday his uncle passed away from complications during gallbladder surgery in Fairbanks.

Iditarod race director Mark Nordman also spoke with KTVA Tuesday. He said Redington Jr. was “the ultimate dog man” and the late musher’s death is a huge loss for the whole sport.

“Such a history,” Nordman said. “I mean the passion was incredible. He helped youth get started… I don’t know that there was an Iditarod champion that wasn’t affected by Joee Redington in such a positive way.”

Redington Jr. was a sprint racer who only competed in the Iditarod twice —  in 1974 and 1975. This year, he was the head checker at Manley Hot Springs.

In March, he told KTVA he was 5-years-old the first time he got on the back of a sled.

Although his race career has been over for many years, three of Redington’s nephews, Ryan, Robert and Ray, have continued the family legacy in an attempt to make it to Nome.

 

KTVA Sports Director Dave Goldman contributed to the story.