The gambling legend Sam E. Esmail, whose name was immortalized in a $1 bill in the 1980s, has died, his wife said Friday.
Esmails daughter, Kristi Esmail-Hoffman, confirmed his death to ABC News.
Esms brother, Mike, confirmed it to the Associated Press.
Ems, 78, who was a cardiologist, had been battling brain cancer for more than a year.
Esmalen, 63, who has been a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a professor at the Duke University School of Medicine, was diagnosed in August with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer.
He underwent surgery on Friday to remove a blood clot from his brain and underwent two rounds of chemotherapy in the fall.
“The great thing about being with him is that you have this tremendous sense of peace and happiness,” Kristi Ems said in a statement.
“It was a great privilege to have him as a father.”
Esmalens sister, Christine Esmales, confirmed the news on Twitter.
He died at the hospital in Chapel Hill.
His wife, Kristy Esmaless, was at his side in Chapel Hills.
She told ABC News that she was relieved that his cancer was under control.
She said they were working on plans for a memorial service for him.
“I can’t imagine that the love that he has for all of us has not been surpassed in all of our lives,” she said.
“And for all the good times he had, it will never be the same.”
Esmail was one of the most popular figures in sports card gaming, which has come under fire for gambling, drug use and the proliferation of online gaming.
He was inducted into the American Sports Card Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Sports Card Collectors Association Hall of Famer in 2014.
He also co-founded the National Sports Card Association, which operates the largest card game league in the world.
His contributions to sports card games included helping popularize online poker and the popularity of “card slots” in online poker games.
Esme also was a member of the National Collegiate Gaming Association, the governing body for the poker industry.