A friend to all he came into contact with, New York Mets icon Rusty Staub was beloved by many.

He passed away this morning at a hospital near his home in south Florida, suffering from multiple organ failure. He would've turned 74 on Sunday.

Staub, a New Orleans native who graduated from Jesuit High School, broke into Major League Baseball as a teenager in the early 60s with the Houston Colt .45s (now Astros), beginning a playing career that spanned 23 seasons.

A 6 time All-Star, he was aptly nicknamed "Le Grande Orange" for his orangish red hair by Montreal Expo fans who adored him after he joined the team in their expansion season of 1969.

Staub spent time during his career with Houston, Montreal, the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers and New York Mets.

Mets and Expos fans particularly loved Staub, as he's in the former's Hall of Fame, and the latter retired his #10.

He finished his career in 1985 with 2716 hits, 292 home runs, 1466 RBI and a .292 batting average.

Staub championed many great causes.  He founded the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund, which supported families of New York first responders who were killed in the line of duty. The organization has raised over $123 million since its inception in 1986.

He also helped feed endless numbers of the homeless in and around New York city through Catholic Charities.

Staub leaves behind a brother, Chuck, and two sisters, Sue Tully and Sally Johnson.