NFL team owner dies aged 90 after being hospitalized with the flu
The owner of the New Orleans Saints has passed away. His wife, Gayle Marie Benson, revealed that he died peacefully at a local hospital.
According to Faith Family America, Tom Benson was 90-years-old at the time of his death. He passed away on March 15, 2018, and has received many messages from fans and fellow celebrities.
According to the New Orleans Saints, Tom Benson, their owner, passed away with his wife, Gayle Marie Benson, at his side. Benson was initially hospitalized with the flu on February 16, 2018.
Thomas Milton Benson, Jr. was born and raised in New Orleans. He was raised in the 7th Ward neighborhood of the city.
Benson graduated from St. Aloysius High School and attended Loyola University in New Orleans. There he studied business and accounting until he enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
‘I’ve just been informed Mr.Tom Benson has passed away at the age of 90. Thank you for all that you’ve done for the city of New Orleans. You will be missed. Rest in Paradise’
Bryan Bienemy, Twitter, March 15, 2018
But after the end of the war, he made sure that he finished his degree. After that, Benson rose in the financial world rapidly.
In 1985, he purchased the New Orleans Saints to prevent the team from being relocated. In 1987, the team advanced to the playoffs for the first time.
‘Since being purchased by Mr. Benson in 1985, the Saints have earned 11 playoff berths, six division titles and captured Super Bowl XLIV in 2009, building a foundation for continued success, on and off the field,’ wrote the New Orleans Saints website.
The owner’s input in the league was instrumental in the team's success. He also played a major role in New Orleans becoming a Super Bowl host five times since he purchased the team.
By many accounts, Tom Benson saved professional football and basketball in New Orleans, by purchasing the Saints in 1985 and the Pelicans in 2012.— Scott Kushner (@ScottDKushner) March 15, 2018
There were some public spats and ugly disputes along the way, but it's likely these franchises would be elsewhere if not for him.
Here’s to Tom Benson... one of the true great owners in the NFL. The city gonna March for you... You left your mark, my man. Let the second shut down Nola! #ripTomBenson#geauxSaints pic.twitter.com/gmr9vY9Yow— Anthony Mackie (@AnthonyMackie) March 15, 2018
Tom Benson is the most influential person in sports in Louisiana in the past 50 years.. for saving the Saints from moving to Jacksonville and buying the Pelicans. He also hired Finks/Mora and Loomis/Payton and OK’d the deal for Drew Brees. Along with significant charitable work https://t.co/aSffrojxRS— Michael Detillier (@MikeDetillier) March 15, 2018
In 2012, he bought the NBA New Orleans Hornets. He rebranded them and renamed them the New Orleans Pelicans.
Benson also spent time on charitable, faith-based, and educational causes in the New Orleans and South Texas communities. His businesses and teams put millions of dollars back into the community every year.
Many people have taken to Twitter to remember him and his contributions.