Wayne Gretzky may be known as the Great One but he says the world has lost "the greatest hockey player ever today."
Gretzky responded to news Gordie Howe had died with a two-part tweet Friday.
"Unfortunately we lost the greatest hockey player ever today, but more importantly the nicest man I have ever met," Gretzky wrote.
Howe held the NHL record for most goals with 801 until Gretzky broke it in 1994 en route to scoring 894. Howe is still No. 2 on the all-time goals list.
Gretzky was 10 when he met Howe at a sports banquet. The man would forever remain his idol.
His iconic No. 99 jersey was inspired by Howe's No. 9.
"Sending our thoughts and prayers to the Howe family and to the millions of hockey fans who like me loved Gordie Howe," Gretzky tweeted. "RIP Mr. Hockey."