Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen dies at 75

FILE: Team owner of the Denver Broncos Pat Bowlen celebrates after they defeated the New England Patriots 26 to 16 during the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

By Joe Sutton, CNN

Denver Broncos owner, Pat Bowlen, has died, his family confirmed in a statement early Friday.

“We are saddened to inform everyone that our beloved husband and father, Pat Bowlen, passed on to the next chapter of his life late Thursday night peacefully at home surrounded by family. His soul will live on through the Broncos, the city of Denver and all of our fans.”

Bowlen, 75, had been battling Alzheimer’s disease.

In the statement, posted on the Denver Broncos’ website, the family paid tribute to their patriarch and thanked the fans.

“Our family wishes to express its sincere gratitude for the outpouring of support we have received in recent years. Heaven got a little bit more orange and blue tonight.”

The family also shared that not only did he have “a competitive spirit with a great sense of humor,” but he was kind and humble.

“More important than being an incredible owner, Pat Bowlen was an incredible human being,” the statement continued.

In February, Bowlen was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was elected as a contributor. In his tenure as Broncos owner, Bowlen’s teams amassed seven Super Bowl appearances and three titles (Super Bowls XXXII, XXXIII and 50). Bowlen ceded control of the team to Broncos president Joe Ellis in July 2014, when he announced that he has Alzheimer’s disease. Last June, Bowlen’s wife Annabel announced she also had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

His daughter, Annabel, was at NFL Honors to represent him at the time.

“We Facetimed him to tell him the great news, and he was so thrilled to hear,” Annabel Bowlen said.

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