Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has died aged 75 after a five-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease, his family confirmed on Friday.
Bowlen, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, served as chief executive of the Broncos until 2014 when his condition was diagnosed.
“We are saddened to inform everyone that our beloved husband and father, Pat Bowlen, passed on to the next chapter of his life late Thursday night peacefully at home surrounded by family,” the Bowlen family said in a statement.
“His soul will live on through the Broncos, the city of Denver and all of our fans.”
Bowlen and his family acquired the Broncos in 1984.
Under Bowlen’s stewardship, the team reached seven Super Bowls, winning three, with their most recent coming in 2016.
John Elway, the former Broncos quarterback who joined Denver a year after Bowlen bought the team, said in a statement the owner’s “shoes will never be filled.”
“He gave this team everything we needed to be the best and compete for championships, and the focus was always on football,” said Elway, who is now Denver’s President of Football Operations. “That’s all you can ask for in an owner — yet he did more.
“He was a tremendous mentor to me and a tremendous friend. I will miss Pat greatly and will always treasure the times we had together.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Bowlen’s work on various league committees would leave a lasting legacy.
“Our league is also better because of Pat’s extraordinary contributions,” Goodell said in a statement.
“Pat personified all that’s right about the NFL.” (Agence France-Presse)