Allen Park, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Detroit Lions owner and chairman William Clay Ford, Sr. died Sunday morning. He was 88 years old.
Ford, who would have turned 89 next Saturday, purchased the Lions on Nov. 22, 1963 for $4.5 million and owned the team until his death.
"It is with profound sadness that we mourn the loss of Mr. Ford and extend our deepest sympathies to Mrs. Ford and to the entire Ford family," Lions president Tom Lewand said in a statement. "No owner loved his team more than Mr. Ford loved the Lions. Those of us who had the opportunity to work for Mr. Ford knew of his unyielding passion for his family, the Lions and the city of Detroit. His leadership, integrity, kindness, humility and good humor were matched only by his desire to bring a Super Bowl championship to the Lions and to our community. Each of us in the organization will continue to relentlessly pursue that goal in his honor."
Born on March 14, 1925, Ford was the last surviving grandchild of Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company. William Clay Ford, Sr. was also the largest individual shareholder in Ford Motor Company.
Control of the Lions will likely go to his son, William Clay Ford, Jr., who has served as vice chairman of the Lions since February 1995.