February 11, 2017 / 1:14 AM / 10 months ago

Tigers and Red Wings owner Ilitch dead at 87

(Reuters) - American entrepreneur Mike Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings, died on Friday at the age of 87, his company announced in a statement.

Owner of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers Mike Ilitch addresses the media during a news conference announcing the hosting of the Toronto Maple Leafs by the Red Wings at Michigan Stadium on the University of Michigan campus in the 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, at the Detroit Tigers Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan February 9, 2012. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Ilitch, a first generation American of Macedonian descent who founded international fast food franchise Little Caesars Pizza, had owned the Tigers Major League Baseball team since 1992 and the Red Wings National Hockey League franchise since 1982.

“My father was a once-in-a-generation entrepreneur, visionary and leader, setting the tone for our organization and our family,” Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, said in a statement. “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.”

Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in St. Augustine, Florida; Editing by Andrew Both

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