Fitzgerald Cecilio - 4E Sports Reporter
Detroit, MI, United States (4E Sports) - Mike Ilitch , owner of the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings, passed away at a hospital Friday. He was 87.
Ilitch's death was confirmed by a family spokesperson but the cause of his passing was not revealed.
Ilitch , founder of Little Caesars pizza, is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, as well as seven adult children, 22 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
"My father was a once-in-a-generation entrepreneur, visionary and leader, setting the tone for our organization and our family. He made such a positive impact in the world of sports, in business and in the community," Ilitch's son Christopher, who is president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, said in a statement.
In 1982, Ilitch bought the Red Wings for $8 million and turned them into champions, winning the Stanley Cup in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008.
In 1992, Ilitch purchased the Tigers for $85 million and developed the team into one of Major League's best.
"I've never seen a man more dedicated to this community and to baseball than Mr. I," Tigers general manager Al Avila said in a statement. "What he has done for this franchise, and for Detroit, is immeasurable."
For his part, Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said Ilitch helped spur regeneration in Detroit and make Michigan one of the best states in hockey.
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