Former Montreal Alouettes quarterback Sam Etcheverry has died at age 79 following a lengthy battle with cancer.

The team announced Etcheverry's death Saturday in a press release.

Etcheverry, who spent the majority of his career with the Alouettes, was one of the most dominant quarterbacks in the CFL during the 1950s.

Nicknamed "The Rifle," he led Montreal to three straight Grey Cup appearances and was named the league's top quarterback in 1954.

Two years later, he became the first quarterback in league history to pass for more than 4,000 yards in a season.

Following a short stint in the NFL, the six-time all-star returned to the Alouettes as a coach and led the team to the 1970 Grey Cup championship.

Etcheverry was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1969.