Lions owner William Clay Ford has died

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford has passed away at the age of 88.

William Clay Ford, the owner and chairman of the Detroit Lions, has died. Ford, who was 88 years old, passed away on Sunday morning, according to Tim Twentyman.

Lions president Tom Lewand released the following statement on this news:

"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.

"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."

Ford was named president of the Lions back in 1961. Two years later, in 1963, he bought the team and became the Lions' owner. The 50th anniversary of his purchase of the team was actually this past November.

Ford's son, Bill Ford Jr., will likely take over as the official owner of the Lions. He has been the vice chairman of the team since 1995, and in recent years, he has been the most visible member of the Lions' ownership.

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