Long-time Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen Dies at 75

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Pat Bowlen
Jan 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen with the Lamar Hunt trophy after the 2013 AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field against the New England Patriots at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Longtime Denver Broncos team owner Pat Bowlen died Thursday night at his home in the Denver area following a year-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, he was 75.

Bowlen died only 2 months before he was slated to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Bowlen is survived by his wife Annabel; their five children, Patrick III, John, Brittany, Christianna and Annabel Victoria; his first wife, Sally Parker; their two children, Amie Klemmer and Beth Bowlen Wallace; as well as his brothers Bill Bowlen and John Bowlen; and his sister Mary Beth Jagger.

The Bowlen family released the following statement (h/t ESPN):

“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. 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. Pat Bowlen had a competitive spirit with a great sense of humor. As fun-loving as he was, he always wanted us to understand the big picture. We will forever remember his kindness and humility. More important than being an incredible owner, Pat Bowlen was an incredible human being.”

Bowlen’s 35-year tenure as Broncos team owner included seven trips to the Super Bowl that resulted in 3 Super Bowl Championships, and the most winning seasons (21) and playoff appearances (18) since 1984.

Bowlen stepped away from day-to-day operations prior to the 2014 season, putting the control of the team in the Bowlen Family Trust, with team president and chief executive officer Joe Ellis took over for Bowlen.

“You saw him every day,” said John Elway, the Broncos’ president of football operations and general manager. “He cared about you as a person, he cared about you as a player, and he gave you everything he had to help you succeed, but you always knew you were expected to care as much as he did.”

“He was always competitive and caring,” Elway continued. “I came to Colorado as a kid and he’s been a part of my life almost my whole adult life. And even in the tough decisions, he cared about everybody and he always kept those relationships with people, he took care of the people around him.”