We have tragic news to announce.
Former Miami Dolphins, Florida Marlins and Florida Panthers owner H. Wayne Huizenga has died at age 80, according to multiple media reports.
No cause of death was not given.
Huizenga's wife, Marti, died last year at age 74. He and Marti were generous with their fortune, donating millions of dollars to South Florida organizations including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County, the Humane Society of Broward County, Nova Southeastern University and Holy Cross Hospital.
Many news stations reminded fans that Huizenga, who owned the Dolphins from 1993 through 2008, created companies such as Waste Management, Blockbuster Video, AutoNation, and Swisher Hygiene. He was also instrumental in bringing hockey and baseball to South Florida, owning the Florida Panthers and the Florida Marlins during the 1990s.
Huizenga bought the Dolphins from the family of the late Joe Robbie, who had been the franchise’s first owner. Initially, Huizenga puchased 15 percent of the team in 1990, but then added the rest of ownership in 1993. In 2008, he sold 50 percent of the franchise and 50 percent of the stadium to Stephen Ross, who then went on to buy all but five percent of the remaining stake in both in 2009.
Here is a statement from the Florida Panthers:
"The Florida Panthers organization is heartbroken by the news of H. Wayne Huizenga's passing. Mr. Huizenga's lifelong commitment to our community, his philanthropy and his entrepreneurial spirit ensure that the Huizenga family legacy will live on in South Florida. I'm continually inspired by Wayne's example, from his vision and his civic-minded leadership, to his success fostering an environment of on-ice excellence, which continues to have a shaping influence on every step we take in the South Florida community. He will be remembered always by our Panthers family."
National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today released the following statement regarding the passing of Mr. Huizenga:
"Wayne Huizenga was an entrepreneurial visionary who possessed boundless energy, drive and imagination, a devotion to his community in South Florida and a passion for sports. Those all were vividly reflected in his founding of the Florida Panthers, the construction of a world-class arena in Sunrise and his leadership of the franchise to an appearance in the 1996 Stanley Cup Final in just its third year in existence.
"While Wayne established South Florida as a hockey market, he devoted as much time and effort to education-focused philanthropic efforts that benefited his beloved community in many ways.
"The National Hockey League sends its condolences to his family and to all throughout the sports and business worlds who Wayne touched and inspired – including the countless hockey fans and players throughout Florida who came to the game as a result of his vision."
Rest in Peace, Mr. Huizenga.
We would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Huizenga.
Photo Credit: Zuma Press