Mike Ilitch dead at 87 - WNEM TV 5

Mike Ilitch dead at 87

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Mike Ilitch (Source: Ilitch Holdings Inc.) Mike Ilitch (Source: Ilitch Holdings Inc.)

Mike Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings, died on Friday.

Ilitch Holdings Inc. confirmed his death.

"My father was a once-in-a-generation entrepreneur, visionary and leader, setting the tone for our organization and our family," said Christopher Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. "He made such a positive impact in the world of sports, in business and in the community, and we will remember him for his unwavering commitment to his employees, his passion for Detroit, his generosity to others and his devotion to his family and friends. Together my family and the company celebrate the tremendous man he was, and we will continue to work hard to uphold his remarkable legacy. I'm honored to have had the opportunity to work with him to nurture and grow our businesses, but mostly, I'm grateful to have called him my Dad."

Ilitch was also the founder of Little Caesars Pizza.

He was 87.

Ilitch was born and raised in Detroit and he loved his city.

"It's really sad to hear he's gone. I mean, he pretty much owned Detroit sports. He was huge," said Curtis Dierich, sports fan.

Ilitch's love for Detroit extended far beyond the field and the ice. Through his organizations he poured billions of dollars into revitalizing Detroit.

"I think it leaves a legacy of hard work and dedication. I think it shows the resilience who see the potential that Detroit had," said Jaylon Carey.

Those excited to see the opening of the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit are sad Ilitch won't see that piece of his legacy.

"That's one of the things he's been working on for a couple years, granted the Red Wings and Tigers have been struggling the last couple years but it would have been nice to see him get something before he passed away," Fabian Lavigne said.

The company released a press release highlighting Ilitch's life.

Gov. Rick Snyder issues the following statement on Ilitch's death:

Mike Ilitch stood as a powerhouse in so many ways across Michigan, and we are a better state today because of the positive differences he made in our communities. He was a strong businessman, an innovative leader, and a loving family man. He was passionate about the city of Detroit and served a critical role in the city’s comeback, investing time, effort, and resources to help craft a better vision for Detroit.

Whether at Comerica Park, the Fox Theatre, or a Red Wings playoff game, Mike had a role in helping create some of our favorite memories, and he will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Over the years, Sue and I have become good friends with the Ilitch family, and we will miss Mike dearly. On behalf of the state of Michigan, we offer our heartfelt condolences to Mike’s wife, Marian, and his entire family. We ask you to keep them all in your thoughts and prayers.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley issued this statement:

Mike Ilitch was a visionary who always believed in the City of Detroit and its potential. He continued to invest in Detroit and our sports teams when others were turning away. Mr. Ilitch's leadership and passion were unmatched and he will always be remembered in the legacy of Detroit and our state. 

He will truly be missed and my condolences are with the Ilitch family during this difficult time."

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