Tigers, Red Wings owner Ilitch dies aged 87


Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch died at the age of 87 on Friday.

Under Ilitch, the Red Wings won four NHL Stanley Cup championships and his Tigers went to the World Series twice.

"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., in a statement released by the company.

"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 honoured 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, and I know my siblings feel the same."

In 1982, Ilitch purchased the Red Wings for $8million and turned the franchise into a success story all professional sports teams came to adorn.

The Red Wings have made the playoffs 25 years in a row under Ilitch, winning the Stanley Cup in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008.

Ilitch bought MLB franchise the Tigers in 1992 from Dominos Pizza founder Tom Monaghan and eventually turned the team from losers into big-spending winners.

He moved the Tigers into Comerica Park in 2000 and experienced his players win everything from the MVP to Cy Young Award. A World Series title, however, eluded him.

Ilitch and his wife of 61 years, Marian, had seven children.

Marian Ilitch and three of the couple's daughters are among only 12 women to have their names engraved into the Stanley Cup.