Broncos owner Pat Bowlen died on Thursday night after a battle with Alzheimer's disease, the team announced. Bowlen was 75.
“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," the Bowlen family said in a statement. "His soul will live on through the Broncos, the city of Denver and all of our fans."
Bowlen bought the Broncos in March 1984. He helped guide Denver to seven Super Bowl appearances in the three decades since he bought the team, including three Lombardi trophies. The Broncos won the Super Bowl with John Elway in 1997 and 1998, and claimed another Super Bowl with Peyton Manning in 2015.
"Pat Bowlen was driven by the will to succeed and his competitive spirit made him a great leader," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote on Twitter on Friday. "We all will greatly miss him and his kindness, passion and wisdom. Pat had a deep love for the game of football, the Broncos and the City of Denver.
"Our league is also better because of Pat’s extraordinary contributions," Goodell added. "As co-chair of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee and the chair of the Broadcasting Committee, Pat played an instrumental role in many facets of our League that benefited fans, players and clubs. Pat personified all that’s right about the NFL and is extremely deserving of this summer’s recognition as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame."
Bowlen will be posthumously inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August.