Pat Bowlen, the longtime owner of the Denver Broncos, died late Thursday night at his home in Denver, his family announced.
"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", his family said in a statement that was released through the team. The statement did not specify a cause of death. Bowlen would serve as CEO for the franchise for the next 30 years, until 2014, when his battle with Alzheimer's became too much to continue on the job. Bowlen will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio this August, and he was already inducted into the Broncos Hall of Fame back in 2015.
Since Bowlen took over in 1984, the Broncos have had as many Super Bowl appearances as losing seasons: seven.
Under Bowlen's leadership, the Broncos won three Super Bowls including their most recent win of Super Bowl 50 over the Carolina Panthers.
"My family and I are saddened by the loss of Pat Bowlen, and our hearts are with the Bowlen family and the entire Denver Broncos organization during this hard time". Bowlen ceded control of the team to Broncos president Joe Ellis in July 2014, when he announced that he has Alzheimer's disease. He also served on multiple other committees, including: NFL Films, Compensation, Pro Football Hall of Fame, NFL Network, Finance, and worldwide and Workplace Diversity. Bowlen also helped negotiate the league's wildly lucrative television contracts while serving on the league's broadcasting committee.
Bowlen also became one of the NFL's most powerful owners during his tenure. Whether things were going right or things weren't going right, he would always let you know what we needed to get better. His shoes will never be filled.