New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson died on Thursday following a near month-long battle with flu-like symptoms, the Pelicans confirmed in a press release. He was 90 years old.
Benson is credited with saving both of his franchises from relocating. He purchased the Saints in 1985 as the team was set to relocate; he also bought the then-Hornets in 2012 and promptly renamed them to the Pelicans. Benson was the only person to own two major sports teams located in his hometown, per The New Orleans Advocate.
Under Benson’s ownership, the Saints captured a Super Bowl in 2010. The Pelicans compiled a 202-266 under his watch, but are on track for a postseason berth this season.
The plan is for Benson’s wife, Gayle Benson, to assume control of both New Orleans franchises, Ramon Antonio Vargas of The Advocate writes.