Earl Woods, father of Tiger Woods, dies at age 74

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Wednesday, May 3, 2006 Earl Woods, the father of Tiger Woods, died from cancer today at his home in Cypress, California, at the age of 74.

Woods died of prostate cancer, which returned to his body after a previous bout with prostate cancer from 1986-1998, but it was treated with radiation.

Although Earl was sometimes posed as an overwhelming, bossy father, Tiger treated Earl as "an amazing dad, coach, mentor, soldier, husband and friend." Tiger also posted that "I wouldn't be where I am today without him, and I'm honored to continue his legacy of sharing and caring."

Tiger skipped this week's PGA Tour event, the Wachovia Championship, to be with his father. Two of his closest friends, Mark O'Meara and John Cook, followed suit.

Woods, who grew up as an African-American child during the 1940's in rural Kansas, played baseball as a high-schooler and in the Negro Leagues, withstanding racism the whole way. During his two trips in the Vietnam War as a Green Beret, Woods met his lifelong friend, Vietnamese Col. Vuong Dang "Tiger" Phong, after whom he named his son.

Earl met his wife, Kutilda Punsawad, in Thailand. They married in 1969, and their son, "Tiger", was born December 30, 1975.