Hockey Hall of Famer Tony Esposito -- one of greatest goalies EVER -- died Tuesday after a battle with pancreatic cancer ... NHL officials confirmed.
He was 78 years old.
"The hockey world will miss him greatly," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "The NHL family extends its deepest sympathies to his wife, Marilyn, sons Mark [Kim] and Jason, and grandchildren Lauren and Kamryn."
Esposito joined the Chicago Blackhawks in 1969 and went on to star for the team for 15 years -- winning the Vezina Trophy three times.