The owner of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, Tom Benson, died Thursday in New Orleans at the age of 90. At the time of his death, he had been only one of three owners of both an NFL and NBA franchise; in life, he was often credited with keeping both teams within New Orleans.
Benson has been in the hospital since February 16 in New Orleans and he was said to have flu-like symptoms. Benson is survived by his wife, Gayle Marie Benson, who had been with him at the time of his passing.
According to ESPN, commissioner Roger Goodell issued the following statement about Benson’s passing:
“Tom Benson’s contributions to New Orleans and the National Football League were legendary.”
“He purchased a team that had never had a winning season; by the third year of his ownership, the Saints were in the playoffs. Tom kept the Saints together through the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, and his decision to bring the team back to New Orleans gave the entire region hope and confidence that they would recover. The Saints rewarded their fans with tremendous football and a Super Bowl championship.”
“Within the NFL, he was a true leader among NFL owners. … I know that the entire NFL family joins me in extending our most heartfelt condolences to Gayle Benson and the entire Saints organization.”
According to ESPN, NBA commissioner Adam Silver also issued the following statement:
“The NBA family mourns the loss of New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson.”
“Big-hearted and gracious, Tom topped off a distinguished business and sports career by acquiring the Pelicans in 2012. During his tenure, he hosted two highly-successful All-Star Games, rebranded the franchise and installed a first-class organization. He was a dear friend to me and so many others in the sports world, and the loss of his authentic and unique presence will leave an enormous void.”
“We send our heartfelt condolences to Gayle, their family, the Pelicans and Saints, and his countless friends.”
What was Tom Benson’s official cause of death?
At this time, Benson’s official cause of death has not been revealed to the public.
As this story is developing, more information will be updated as made available.