Lou's speech JULY 4th 1939. Lou Gehrig was taken down at the age of 37 by ALS. He was diagnosed on his 36th birthday after six days of extensive testing at the Mayo Clinic. His ALS took him down quickly with rapid paralysis, difficulty swallowing and speaking. A lot of his teammates stayed away from Lou, thinking it was contagious. A letter to his wife after the diagnosis..... "The bad news is lateral sclerosis, in our language chronic infantile paralysis. There isn't any cure... there are very few of these cases. It is probably caused by some germ...Never heard of transmitting it to mates... There is a 50–50 chance of keeping me as I am. I may need a cane in 10 or 15 years. Playing is out of the question.." Following his visit to the Mayo Clinic, he briefly rejoined the Yankees in D.C. As his train pulled into Union Station, he was greeted by a group of Boy Scouts, happily waving and wishing him luck. Gehrig waved back, but he leaned forward to his companion, a reporter, and said, "They're wishing me luck — and I'm dying." He retired on June 21st that year and made his famous speech on July 4th. A speech that will remain the most famous in American sports history. At least to me, I guess. I'm a Yankee fan . Lou still holds Yankee records that stand today. Lou Gehrig picture from that day put into HD color..... Bless ya Lou!