Atlanta United honor Hank Aaron by retiring No. 44 for 2021 season

The world lost an icon that transcended the world of sports with Friday's passing of Hank Aaron, and Atlanta United have announced the club will be retiring Aaron's No. 44 for the 2021 season in honor of one of the city's preeminent legendary figures.

The longtime MLB home run king passed away on Friday at the age of 86, leaving behind a legacy of excellence on the field as one of the most dominant hitters of all time, but also off of it as a crucial figure in advancing civil rights and the struggle for racial equality and justice.

Atlanta United will be joined in retiring No. 44 for the 2021 season by the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.

"To celebrate the incredible life and career of baseball legend Hank Aaron, we are proud to retire the No. 44 this season for our Atlanta United and ATLUTD 2 teams,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said in a club release. “He was an American hero, a trailblazer and arguably Atlanta’s greatest sports icon. The impact he had on our city, our country and the sports world is immeasurable. Hank Aaron will undoubtedly live on through the countless lives he touched and through the young athletes across the globe who he has inspired.”