Hashim Khan, one of the greatest squash players of all time, died of congestive heart failure Monday night.
He was believed to be 100-year-old. His youngest son, Mo, said in a phone interview that Khan died in his home with family by his side.
Mo Khan said of his father’s death: “The world just lost the greatest player of all time “.
Khan was the patriarch of Pakistan’s squash supremacy, winning seven British Open titles.
At 37, Khan went to the British Open, the unofficial world championship. He had beaten the best player in the world, four-time defending champion Mahmoud El Karim of Egypt, 9-5, 9-0, 9-0, for his first title. His last was at 44.
About then, he had taught his brother, Azam, to play squash, and he won four titles. Hashim Khan’s cousin, Roshan Khan, and nephew, Mohibullah Khan, each captured one. Add Khan’s cousin’s son, Jahangir Khan, who won 10 straight titles through the 1980s, and the “Khan Dynasty” accounted for 23 British Open titles.
Khan had brought his family to the US in the early 1960s after being offered a lucrative deal to teach squash at the Uptown Athletic Club in Detroit. He had later taken a pro position at the Denver Athletic Club in the early ‘70s, with membership instantly soaring.
More than winning, Khan was known for sportsmanship — always allowing an opponent to leave the court first. He was all about respect.
Khan lost his daughter in 2007 and then his wife of 65 years, both to diabetes.