A team employee has confirmed that Detroit Lions owner and chairman William Clay Ford, Sr. has died, reports Chris McCosky of Detroit News (via Twitter). He was 88 years old.
Jennifer Hammond of Fox 2 Detroit first reported the unfortunate news (via Twitter).
Team president Tom Lewand released the following statement:
“It is with profound sadness that we mourn the loss of Mr. Ford and extend our deepest sympathies to Mrs. Ford and to the entire Ford Family. No owner loved his team more than Mr. Ford loved the Lions. Those of us who had the opportunity to work for Mr. Ford knew of his unyielding passion for his family, the Lions and the city of Detroit. His leadership, integrity, kindness, humility and good humor were matched only by his desire to bring a Super Bowl championship to the Lions and to our community. Each of us in the organization will continue to relentlessly pursue that goal in his honor.”
Ford purchased the team outright in November 1963 for $4.5MM and officially took over January 10, 1964, according to the team’s website.
He is survived by his wife, the former Martha Firestone, three daughters and his son, William Clay Ford Jr., who serves as the Lions vice chairman.
The staff at Pro Football Rumors sends its condolences to Mr. Ford’s friends and family.